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FDA puts antibacterial hand soap to the test

by Greg Bernhardt
Tags: antibacterial, hand, puts, soap, test
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Greg Bernhardt
Dec16-13, 06:52 PM
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FDA examining antibacterial soaps, body washes

(CNN) -- Manufacturers of antibacterial hand soap and body wash will be required to prove their products are more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of infection, under a proposed rule announced Monday by the Food and Drug Administration.
Those manufacturers also will be required to prove their products are safe for long-term use, the agency said.
"Millions of Americans use antibacterial hand soap and body wash products," the agency said in a statement. "Although consumers generally view these products as effective tools to help prevent the spread of germs, there is currently no evidence that they are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water.
"Further, some data suggest that long-term exposure to certain active ingredients used in antibacterial products -- for example, triclosan (liquid soaps) and triclocarban (bar soaps) -- could pose health risks, such as bacterial resistance or hormonal effects."
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Dec16-13, 08:41 PM
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If plain soap has any antibacterial properties, I don't see that they can put together a case against a product that's at least as effective as plain soap. It's like the bread companies that dye their white bread brown and advertise it as "wheat" bread. In both cases, they're not actually lying.
Dec16-13, 08:41 PM
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Also: your link isn't working for me, Greg.

Dec17-13, 06:47 AM
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FDA puts antibacterial hand soap to the test

The mechanical action of washing with water along with soap that breaks up oils is most effective at removing bacteria from your hands (and sending it down the drain) not so much at killing it.
Dec17-13, 03:52 PM
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I hate this.

Does the FDA regulate Windex, Clorox and Tide? Do hand sanitizers really advertise that they are a replacement for washing (obviously the do not remove dirt)? Couldn't the FDA's time and my money be better spent regulating herbal suppliments, homeopathy and oxygenated water?
Dec17-13, 05:35 PM
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Windex and Tide are not designed to prevent disease, so they're not FDA. Clorox is regulated by FDA as it's marketed as a prevention.

Some antibacterial sanitizers advertise that they kill 99.9% bacteria. I think that's the claim being regulated. Dirt won't kill you (might even have some minerals!).
Dec23-13, 07:18 AM
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Windex and household cleaning products in general are regulated by the EPA under TSCA. Disinfectants like Clorox are also regulated by the EPA (not FDA) as pesticides. FDA regulates antimicrobial products whose effects are on or in the human body. EPA regulates as pesticides those antimicrobial products and materials intended to treat inanimate materials, surfaces, etc. - from disinfectants to preservatives in paints.
Hand sanitizers are not regulated under the monograph considered above. Industry has argued with the Agency on this matter since the late 1970's. Ironically, the monograph was then (and remains) titled "tentative final".

Here's a better link:

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