What is Antibacterial Soap?
Antibacterial soaps, which can also be known as antimicrobial or antiseptic soaps, contain chemical ingredients not found in other soaps are are intended to prevent or reduce bacterial infections in the home. Antibacterial soap can be found in either liquid or hard soap form and there is also a range of other antibacterial products which can include creams, sprays and wipes. These products have been popular since the 1990's and despite some questions over their effectiveness they have been common in homes since that time. In September 2016 this changed however as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. announced that within 12 months all antibacterial soap (bar and liquid) must be removed from shelves and are forbidden to be sold over the counter.
Why has antibacterial soap been banned in the U.S.?
The reason for this ban was that the FDA stated that there is no evidence that these antibacterial soaps provide additional protection from diseases and infections, and also that the use of these products may give people a false sense of security. They also suggest that in fact using a natural soap with water will have a similar effect on keeping you clean and safe and that by using antibacterial products you may be exposing your family to unnecessary chemicals. These 'unnecessary chemicals' are the 19 active chemical ingredients used in antibacterial products which include, amongst others, Triclosan and Triclocarbon. There is growing evidence that these chemicals are associated with causing allergies and can also cause hormone imbalances within the body. Triclosan in particular is thought to have a negative impact on the environment and has been shown to accumulate in fish and other aquatic wildlife.
What is Triclosan?
Triclosan is a common chemical that is found in many consumer products these days. It is often found in clothing, furniture, kitchenware and toys and is used to prevent bacterial contamination. Due to the amounts of Triclosan used being higher than previously thought, people's exposure to it is much greater and this has increased concerns about the potential risks that are associated with exposure to it over the long term. Laboratory studies have suggested that the extended use of Triclosan contributes to making bacteria more resistant to traditional antibiotics. This can create a problem for those regularly using antibacterial products at home or more significantly those who are undergoing any kind of medical treatments. The FDA classifies Triclosan as a pesticide, and although it is still testing it alongside the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to better understand the long term effects of its use on both humans and the environment. It does consider the risks to be enough that Antibacterial products are now in the process of being removed from shelves across the U.S.
Should we use Antibacterial Soap?
We are all used to seeing antibacterial products and soaps in the supermarkets and often reaching for them feeling secure that they have been designed to decrease the amount of germs in our households and to decrease the chances of us catching viruses. But the information revealed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that the manufacturers of 'antibacterial' soaps have not been able to prove the supposed benefits of them is expected to change all that. Although there has been no similar announcement by authorities in the UK or Europe most people will consider the information provided to be enough to make a decision for themselves. There are also concerns over the suggestions that the 19 chemicals that are used in antibacterial products may actually be more harmful for our health than if we had used nothing. The FDA ruled in September 2016 that all antibacterial products must be removed from shelves within one year.
What should we use instead of Antibacterial Soap?
We all want to keep our home and our loved ones safe from viruses and infections so finding a replacement that works as well without posing any additional risks is important. The FDA has suggested that a natural soap and water as well as having the same effects in terms of keeping you clean and reducing the spread of germs will also poses no risk to your health in terms of chemical additives.
To see some for the natural soaps that are available check out our range.