We may think that antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs. But that’s not the case.

But FDA just banned all antibacterials from soaps. “We have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, the Food and Drug Administration’ drug center director. “In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term.”

Research suggests that two ingredients used in antibacterial soaps — triclosan and triclocarban can interfere with hormone levels, disrupt muscle function and stimulate drug-resistant bacteria.

And although the chemical kills bacteria by breaking open their cell walls, the process takes up to nine hours—so it is ineffective when simply washing hands.

The FDA decision does not apply to hand sanitizers, most of which use alcohol rather than antibacterial chemicals.

 

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