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The truth about antibacterial soap

Updated: Monday, December 16 2013, 08:04 PM CST
The truth about antibacterial soap story image
Are antibacterial soaps really better at preventing the spread of germs and illnesses?

The FDA wants to find out - and make sure that these products aren't posing a health risk.

Doctors say the best bet is to wash your hands several times a day with just  plain soap and water.

Millions of Americans go the extra step - or so they think - by using antibacterial soaps.
But that may be a waste of time.

Today the Food and Drug Administration says there's no evidence that antibacterial soaps actually prevent germs from spreading.
In fact, there are concerns that the chemicals they contain could be a health risk.

The FDA says research from animal studies suggests that daily exposure  to antibacterial chemicals had an effect on estrogen, testosterone and thyroid hormones.

The soap and detergent industry calls these concerns overblown.
"The FDA proposed a rule that said we need to find out if our anti-bacterial soaps are safe and bottom line...if they work."

Brian Santoni/VP Communication's American Cleaning Institute
"The fact is Triclosan is safe...has an extensive track record. Human health and environmental safety."

If this FDA rule is approved - soap companies would be required to show their products are safe for long-term daily use and show they are more effective than just plain soap and water.
There will now be a 180-day comment period where doctors, consumers and industry experts can weigh in. The government's aiming to have final, enforceable rules and regulations in place by September 2016.
The truth about antibacterial soap
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