Antibacterial Soap No Longer FDA Approved?

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Antibacterial soaps might actually be dangerous to your health, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Millions of Americans choose antibacterial soaps and body washes, thinking they're better than ordinary soap.

But the FDA shocked consumers by announcing this week that these products aren't better at all, and in fact, could be a lot worse -- so bad they might be removed from store shelves.

Believe it or not, human beings have a lot of good bacteria in their bodies, important bacteria that actually keep us healthy.

But antibacterial soaps can kill those good bacteria, possibly leading to serious issues, like antibiotic resistance or hormone problems.

The FDA says research from animal studies suggested that daily exposure to antibacterial chemicals had an effect on estrogen, testosterone, and thyroid hormones.

There are about 2,000 antibacterial soaps, washes, and deodorants on the market. They are pretty easy to recognize. Most say "antibacterial," "antimicrobial," or "antiseptic" on the label. 

Another giveaway is the presence of the "drug facts" label required by law. Look for the active ingredient Triclosan.

But companies that make these products say the FDA's concerns are overblown.

"The fact is Triclosan is safe," Brian Santoni, who works for the American Cleaning Institute, said. "(It) has an extensive track record - human health and environmental safety."

The FDA wants to give antibacterial soap companies a year to prove their products are safe and better than regular soap. If they can't, the products must be reformulated, relabeled, or removed from store shelves by 2016.

In the meantime, the FDA still says washing your hands is the best way to avoid getting sick, preferably with good old fashioned plain soap and water.

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Lorie  Johnson

Lorie Johnson

CBN News Medical Reporter

Lorie Johnson reports on the latest information about health and wellness. Since medicine is constantly changing, she makes sure CBN News viewers are up-to-date on what they need to know in order to live a healthy life.  Follow Lorie on Twitter @LorieCBN and "like" her at Facebook.com/LorieJohnsonCBN.