If you have been tuned in to the news this week, you have probably heard about the FDA review of anti-bacterial soaps. Apparently, while we have lived under the assumption that using these types of soaps is part of proper hand washing and sanitation, we may not be eliminating potentially hazardous germs.
While this is news to most of us, the FDA has conducted a 40 year study that has now concluded with the fact that there is actually no solid evidence to support that certain anti-bacterial chemicals can actually prevent germs from spreading. Some are even going so far as to say that this may be the reason we have seen a rise in “superbugs” over the last decade.
There are several chemicals that the FDA will be looking at, however, one common ingredient in soaps, triclosan is being looked at closely. It seems that it may actually cause interference with levels of hormones in the body and may actually accelerate the growth of bacteria that is resistant to drugs.
Perhaps those affected most severely by this are the companies in the soap industry. They will now be made to show data supporting their claims that their anti-bacterial products are more effective than normal soup and water in eliminating the growth of bacteria and the spread of germs. All companies will need to show this by 2016 or they will be forced to either reformulate their products or remove them completely from shelves.
So how could we have believed these products were effective in the first place? This is a question many of us are asking. More will likely be released regarding the FDA study in the coming months, but in the meantime, it stands to reason that hand washing with any type of soap and water is more effective than skipping sanitation altogether.