FDA Questions Antibacterial Soap Claims

The FDA says antibacterial soaps and body washes may be linked to hormone imbalance and may cause bacteria to become resistant to drugs

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Federal regulators said Monday that antibacterial soap and body wash makers should have to prove their products are effective and safe within one year if they are to continue selling them as marketed.

The Food and Drug Administration, in its proposal for a new rule, said in a statement that products like like Henkel AG & Co’s Dial soap could be linked to hormone imbalances and bacterial resistance. It also said there is no proof the products are more effective than washing traditional soap and water.

The proposal comes amid a larger FDA review of the active ingredients like triclosan in most antibacterial hand soaps and body washes, which have drawn skepticism from scientists for roughly 40 years, Bloomberg reports.

The new rule, which would still have to go through a 180-day comment period, would not affect alcohol-based hand sanitizers or antibacterial products in health care settings, the FDA said.