About a week ago, I noted that new Food and Drug Administration regulations were snuffing out e-cigarette firms.

Now the FDA is going to save us from our hand soaps:

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a final rule that throws water on claims that antibacterial soaps and washes are more effective than regular soap.

The new rule bans antibacterial soaps and body washes containing certain ingredients from being marketed, because the ingredients were not proved to be safe and effective for long-term daily use, the FDA said Friday.

The rule applies to antibacterial soaps and washes that contain one or more of 19 active ingredients, including the most commonly used chemicals triclosan and triclocarban, but it does not affect consumer hand sanitizers or antibacterial wipes.

As this NewUpdate video explains, the FDA is giving the soap manufacturer’s one year to reformulate their products or pull them from the market entirely:

Anti-chemical activists have been targeting triclosan for years as a “potentially dangerous chemical” for years, including hitting the FDA with a lawsuit for delays in promulgating regulations and complaining that is was detected in surface waters.

However, long-term studies on triclosan failed to indicate the substance was actually harmful. What a review of the data did show was that it was ineffective and could lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains.

…Several clinical studies, following several hundred households, have shown that triclosan-based soap does not prevent illness any better than regular soap and water alone.

There is also significant evidence that triclosan might worsen the problem of antibiotic resistance. Whereas plain soap and water simply dislodge bacteria from skin, triclosan weakens and kills the microorganisms. Until recently it was thought that triclosan acted indiscriminately—killing all bacteria in a number of ways—but now scientists know that it targets specific molecular pathways, acting more like an antibiotic.

For example, triclosan homes in on an enzyme that plays a key role in bacterial metabolism—the same pathway that the tuberculosis-fighting antibiotic isoniazid targets. This similarity has raised concerns that bacteria could mutate and grow resistant to triclosan—and therefore also to the antibiotic.

The good news for American business is that makers of consumer products have a variety of formulation options that they are beginning to implement.

…Johnson and Johnson pledged to remove triclosan from its consumer products by 2015 and currently list it as one of the ingredients they don’t use. Unilever has also pledged to phase the chemical out and will stop using it completely by 2017. Colgate-Palmolive settled a lawsuit for $2 million in 2015 to end lawsuits in several districts that alleged the company had misled consumers into believing Softsoap antibacterial hand soap containing triclosan killed most common germs, according to reporting by Law360.

Despite the required reformulations, hand-washing remains a key protective step to avoid illness.

(Featured image via Twitter).

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