What does antimicrobial soap do

Hand washing health risk : Ordinary soap is best

Soap manufacturers in the USA will have to do without 19 antibacterial ingredients. This is what the American FDA has set. The substances include triclosan and triclocarban, among others. Washing hands with antibacterial soap does not protect against infectious diseases better than ordinary soap, the authority explained.

"Consumers believe antibacterial soap is better at preventing the spread of germs," ​​said FDA division director Janet Woodcock. “We haven't found any scientific evidence for this.” Thorough hand hygiene with normal soap and warm water is sufficient. Some studies have suggested that antibacterial soaps are harmful to health over the long term.

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) in Berlin has been warning for years, for example, that pathogenic germs could develop resistance to the agents. If possible, Triclosan should only be contained in disinfectants for clinics and medical practices. The dose used there is high enough to kill bacteria effectively. If, on the other hand, the agent is used in consumer products, there is a risk that pathogens will become insensitive to Triclosan, but also to other antimicrobial substances and antibiotics such as quinolones and tetracyclines, which are used in human therapy. Since July 2015, according to a European regulation, cosmetics may no longer contain triclosan if they are used extensively on the skin. These include body lotions and foot creams.

Manufacturers in the US have one year to implement the FDA ban. Up to now, most solid and liquid soaps there contain at least one of the prohibited substances. Hand disinfectants, such as those used in hospitals, as well as cosmetics and some toothpastes are not affected by the new regulation. AFP / yes

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