The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Friday the banning of products containing 19 active ingredients that could be more dangerous than healthy for consumers usage.

Antibacterial soaps and body washes containing the listed ingredients by the FDA have been banned from the market since companies were unable to prove their benefits over plain water and soap, the FDA said in a published statement. The FDA’s decision gives enterprises in the industry a year to eliminate products containing the dangerous ingredients that include Triclosan, a very common ingredient and triclocarban that can be found in liquid and bar soaps.

“Antibacterial hand and body wash manufacturers did not provide the necessary data to establish safety and effectiveness,” read the statement published by the FDA.” Image credit:

“Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water,” said Janet Woodcock, who is the director of the FDA’s Center for Drog Evaluation and Research in a statement.

Proving efficiency 

The decision comes as a response to the first proposition by the FDA in 2013 when the administration first asked companies in the industry to show the product’s ingredients had more benefits than harm to the human body.

According to the FDA and public health experts that have celebrated the administration’s decision, these chemicals can develop drug-resistant infections and remove hormones in young infants.

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“Seems like a prudent step to prevent a possible albeit theoretical, future adverse impact, and since the public still has the option of using hand sanitizers, which work faster and better, I can be supportive of the ruling,” said Elaine Larson who is a researcher at Columbia University School of Nursing.

Since 2013, companies have been providing evidence and data to the FDA to prove benefits of the products. However, the administration decided the data was not enough and companies failed to prove their arguments.

The FDA’s decision only applies to hand washes and soaps containing the banned ingredients, other products with the active ingredients are still on the market. As the New York Times reports, the Colgate Total toothpaste has the ingredients, but the company proved to the FDA that it helps with the reduction of plaque and gum disease.

“It has boggled my mind why we were clinging to these compounds, and now that they are gone I feel liberated. They had absolutely no benefit, but we kept them buzzing around us everywhere,” said Rolf Halden a scientist from The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University and has investigated the subject, to the New York Times.

Previous research on the matter has failed to provide information on the benefits over the dangerous possible outcomes of the ingredients. In 2007, a research team found no evidence of advantages of using the products over only using plain soap and water.

Researchers have explained that for years, everyday users have thought that by using these products they were caring for their health, but in fact, they could be endangering it with those chemicals.

At the same time, the administration gave companies more time to prove the effectiveness and benefits of products containing benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride, and chloroxylenol before making a decision on them.

Large companies such as Procter&Gamble and Johnson&Johnson have already announced changes to their stock products, to change the chemicals for safer ones or to create new products that don’t content the banned ingredients. The decision was made by both companies before the FDA announced its final decision.

However, companies in the industry have opposed the FDA’s decision, for example, the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) published a statement rejecting the administration’s decision by claiming the products continue to be safe to the public for daily use.

The Institute assured on the statement that these products are key to public health and the importance of hand hygiene and preventing infections. According to the Institute, enough data was provided to the FDA to prove the benefits of the ingredients against the harms.

The ACI along with other hygiene companies will be investigating and providing additional data to the FDA to prove the benefits and fill the data gaps that the FDA found.

The Institute noted that the administration’s decision doesn’t affect products such as hand sanitizers, antiseptic products and other that are commonly used in commerces.

Source: FDA