A government agency says there is no evidence that antibacterial soap found on store shelves is more effective at preventing illness that regular soap and water.
The Food and Drug Administration said these soaps could carry unnecessary drawbacks.
“There are indications that certain ingredients in these soaps may contribute to bacterial resistance to antibiotics, and may have unanticipated hormonal effects that are of concern to FDA,” the agency said on its website.
Given this backdrop, the FDA proposed a rule on Friday that requires manufacturers to provide “more substantial data to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps.”
The rule applies to soaps and body washes that are used with water, but not to hand sanitizers, hand wipes or types of antibacterial soaps that are used in hospitals.
It would require lab tests that directly compare the use of antibacterial soaps with infections rates, something that is not done today, according to the FDA.
The agency’s scientists are particularly worried about a chemical in the soaps called triclosan, which according to animal studies may alter the way hormones work in the body.