FDA bans triclosan and triclocarban in consumer soaps | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: September 2, 2016

FDA bans triclosan and triclocarban in consumer soaps

Agency says manufacturers have not demonstrated safety or effectiveness of these antibacterial chemicals
Department: Government & Policy
Keywords: antibacterial, soap, FDA, triclosan, tricloban
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FDA prohibits more than a dozen antibacterial chemicals in hand and body soaps sold in the U.S.
Credit: Shutterstock
Man washes his hands with liquid soap in the sink.
 
FDA prohibits more than a dozen antibacterial chemicals in hand and body soaps sold in the U.S.
Credit: Shutterstock

As of next year, companies will no longer be allowed to sell hand and body soaps in the U.S. that contain certain antibacterial ingredients, including triclosan and triclocarban.

In a final rule issued on Sept. 2, the Food & Drug Administration says that manufacturers have not shown that the chemicals are safe for long-term daily use. Companies also haven’t shown that the chemicals are more effective than washing with regular soap and water to prevent the spread of germs, FDA says.

“Some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term,” says Janet Woodcock, director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation & Research. FDA proposed the rule in late 2013, citing concerns about potential hormonal effects and antibiotic resistance associated with the chemicals.

The rule goes into effect on Sept. 6, 2017, but many manufacturers have already stopped using the ingredients. As alternatives, most have switched to one of three other antibacterial chemicals: benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride, and chloroxylenol. At the request of manufacturers, FDA deferred from including these three compounds in the new rule.

The American Cleaning Institute and its member companies plan to submit to FDA safety and effectiveness data for these three ingredients in the coming year, says Brian Sansoni, a vice president of the trade group. In the meantime, manufacturers can continue to market products that contain the three substances.

FDA’s action is part of a settlement made with the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council. The group sued FDA in 2010 for not finalizing a 1978 rule that would have banned triclosan in consumer soaps.

 
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Comments
Ira Holcomb (Thu Sep 22 09:34:23 EDT 2016)
Our family, my wife and I with three children, have used Dial soap exclusively since 1960. Many other soaps have perfumes added with which we have problems. I am not convinced that the decision is based on real facts. The FDA probably should be looking at more important problems such as the quality of prescription drugs that are not manufactured in this country.

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