FDA wants proof anti-bacterial soap products work - FOX 35 News Orlando

FDA ban on anti-bacterial soaps? Agency wants proof products work

Posted: Updated: Dec 16, 2013 05:35 PM
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PHOENIX (KSAZ) -

It's something most people use everyday: anti-bacterial soaps and body washes -- but a major announcement from the Food and Drug Administration could have those products pulled from the market all because of the key ingredient.

The ingredient is called Triclosan - and while you may have never heard of it, it's in about 75 percent of all "anti bacterial" soaps and body washes sold in the United States, but on Friday, the FDA said there's no proof it actually works.

"This stuff has never proven to be effective. And it's been out since the 70s," said Dr. Frank Lovecchio, a toxicologist at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center.

Lovecchio says the huge popularity of anti-bacterial soaps and lotions could actually spur the growth of drug resistant bacteria.

"It's gonna say hey, I see this Triclosan stuff, but I laugh at that stuff because my mother's been exposed that. And now multi-generations now. And that's how we get all of these bad organisms that don't work with our current drugs."

20 seconds -- that's how long health experts say you should wash your hands with soap and water. That's about how long it takes to sing the song "Happy Birthday."

"To make some foam -- to have running water -- to rub your hands together. The next best if it's not available to you are the alcohol based products," he said.

Products like liquid hand sanitizers or anti bacterial wipes, which use alcohol to kill germs, not Triclosan.

Under the FDA proposal, if companies can not demonstrate the anti-bacterial products work and are safe, they would need to be reformulated or re-labeled on order to stay on store shelves.

Let us know your own tips for staying healthy through the winter! Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook.com/myfoxphoenix.

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