Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Antibacterial soaps and washes - are they safe?

This might be a good question.

Don't you take them for granted?

I have read that one must use good old soap and water after using a hand wash 5 or 6 times in a row. This makes sense to me, especially after reading this article. Also, one must use a product that contains more than 75% alcohol in order for it to be effective.

 The Federal Drug Agency (FDA) cleared active antiseptic ingredients in 1994, but few studies have been done since, it appears. At that time they declared them generally safe and effective. They are now reviewing anti-bacterial active ingredients in order to determine their safety for a new report late in 2016.

Why should we worry?

Recent studies, Sandra Kweder, MD, deputy director of the FDA's Office of New Drugs at CDER tells us, have found risk from triclosan (liquid soaps) and triclocarban (bar soaps) . They produce reactions in animals that effect estrogen, testosterone and thyroid hormones.

Who uses these items the most? 

Firstly, triclosan is found in many personal care products. However, hand sanitizers are predominantly female personal support workers (PSW), nurses, and other primary care staff. Visitors to any LTC or retirement home are strongly encouraged, as well.

The Canadian government claims that it is not found in enough of a concentration in products like toothpaste, shampoo and soap. It is rinsed off, and goes into our sewers, ending up in the environment, where it can effect plants and animals.



Triclosan is used as a material preservative and antimicrobial in a wide range of cosmetics and personal care products, including non-prescription drugs. It has been proven to provide health benefits in some products, such as its use in toothpaste to protect against gingivitis. Triclosan is also used as a material preservative in the manufacture of textiles, leather, paper, plastic and rubber to prevent the growth of bacteria, fungus, and mildew, and to prevent odours.



FDA Wants Proof of Anti-Bacterial Soap Claims

"It is still unclear whether triclosan and similar biocides promote the development of antimicrobial resistance to antibiotics, but we do know that triclosan is a long-lived chemical," Bouvier said. "It has been found in soil, waste water treatment plants, lakes and streams, and even in many people's urine, where it has been associated with elevated body mass index and with environmental and food allergies."

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