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US bans antibacterial soaps that may do 'more harm than good'

Washington, Sep 3 (IANS) Over-the-counter consumer antiseptic wash products containing certain active ingredients can no longer be marketed in the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ruled.

The rule removes one or more of 19 specific active ingredients, including the most commonly used ingredients — triclosan and triclocarban — from over-the-counter antibacterial hand and body washes.

Companies will no longer be able to market antibacterial washes with these ingredients because manufacturers did not demonstrate that the ingredients are both safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections, the FDA said in a statement on Friday issuing final rule on safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps.

“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, Director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER).

“In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term,” Woodcock noted.

This rule does not affect consumer hand “sanitizers” or wipes, or antibacterial products used in health care settings, FDA said.

The agency issued a proposed rule in 2013 after some data suggested that long-term exposure to certain active ingredients used in antibacterial products ? for example, triclosan (liquid soaps) and triclocarban (bar soaps) ? could pose health risks, such as bacterial resistance or hormonal effects.

Under the proposed rule, manufacturers were required to provide the agency with additional data on the safety and effectiveness of certain ingredients used in over-the-counter consumer antibacterial washes if they wanted to continue marketing antibacterial products containing those ingredients.

This included data from clinical studies demonstrating that these products were superior to non-antibacterial washes in preventing human illness or reducing infection.

Antibacterial hand and body wash manufacturers did not provide the necessary data to establish safety and effectiveness for the 19 active ingredients addressed in this final rulemaking.

For these ingredients, either no additional data were submitted or the data and information that were submitted were not sufficient for the agency to find that these ingredients are generally recognized as safe and effective.

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