The Food and Drug Administration, Dec. 17, proposed a new rule requiring that makers of antibacterial soap submit data backing up claims that “demonstrate a clinical benefit” from the use of their products compared to non-antibacterial soap.
The companies have until June 14 to comment on the proposed rule.
The FDA has given the green light to these products since 1994.
Antibacterial soaps generally use triclosan and triclocarban — chlorinated hydrocarbons that can kill many bacteria and some fungi, notes Popular Mechanics. Three-quarters of national-brand liquid soaps and about one-third of bar soaps contain them, according to a 2001 study. These chemicals inhibit bacteria from generating the lipids to build cell walls.
Regular soap, on the other hand, breaks adherence bacteria has to the skin and is merely washed down the drain rather than killed.
It is suspected that the latter is every bit as effective as the former and the antibacterial stuff may have some hidden dangers as it has been found to cause alterations in thyroid, reproductive, growth, and developmental systems of neonatal and adolescent animals.
The FDA is careful to say that these things have yet to be seen in people. FDA officials did not mention whether they had seen the tweet from the Obama administration promoting discussion of its health insurance plan.