Antibacterial soap products are a staple in many household bathrooms and kitchens, used daily by millions of people who assume they are gaining proper protection against germs and disease. However, as research emerges which contradicts such beliefs, the world of hand washing and hygiene habits has been turned upside down.

Image Credit

Public Misled by Antibacterial Claims

The products affected are freely available on supermarket and chemist’s shelves, and contain active ingredients used to market the soaps as ‘antibacterial’, although there has been no definitive proof produced to show either their superior effectiveness over regular soap and water, or their safety when used over a long-term period.

The ruling covers antiseptic washes applied to the hands and rinsed off with water which contain any of 19 named ingredients. Two of these, triclosan and triclocarban, appear in many products, so the effects are wide reaching.

According to the Director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Janet Woodcock, there are problems such as bacterial resistance which they could help with if used consistently for a period of time.

Companies Fail to Prove Their Case

The ruling on this topic was first issued in 2013, and all companies affected were given the opportunity to conduct independent research, with positive findings being submitted for consideration. Ultimately though, either nothing was put forward or the results were insufficient to prove the FDA wrong.

Further Ingredients are on the Checklist

As yet the FDA has not made a final ruling on the use of three other chemicals which are popular ingredients in antibacterial soap and hand wash liquid. These are, however, on the horizon, prompting manufacturers to devote time and attention to researching and presenting safety information on the use of benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride and chloroxylenol in their products.

There are plenty of companies to help with FDA 510k submissions if needed. With the guidance and expertise of experts such as tprg the process should be easier, smoother and much less stressful than submitting everything directly.

There’s no doubt that the market for home-use antibacterial soaps exists, but the public deserve to have confidence that a product they buy is both safe and able to deliver what it promises, and if this system fails then the FDA have no choice but to implement guidelines and sanctions where appropriate.