The FDA Finally Reviews the Safety of Antibacterial Soaps
A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel has met to examine the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps.
Could Cause Problems
The American Medical Association (AMA), and a number of scientists, have cast doubts on the use of antibacterial soap. They point out that there is no evidence that these products stop infection any better than regular soap, and they worry that increased use of antibacterial products might lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Alcohol-Based Sanitizers are Safer
Some at the FDA's meeting recommended the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers for this reason, rather than the antibacterial additives triclosan (for liquid soaps) and triclocarban (for hard soaps).
Industry Denies There is a Problem
The AMA's Council on Scientific Affairs suggested in 2002 that consumers stop using antibacterial soaps. Promoters of the soaps say that studies have shown antibacterial soaps cause no increase in bacterial resistance to antibiotics, although the studies quoted did say that long-term use of the products could be problematic and should be studied.
Yahoo News October 18, 2005
USA Today October 20, 2005.