At the beginning of this month, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally banned the use of 19 antibacterial soaps active ingredients used in the manufacturing of antibacterial soaps.
According to the FDA’s press announcement, these ingredients were banned because antibacterial soaps manufacturers failed to scientifically prove that the ingredients are either safe for use or effective as antibacterial soap agents. The ban applies only to consumer products, not to antibacterial soaps used in hospitals and food service settings.
Recall that in 2013, the agency had issued a proposed rule after some data suggested that long-term exposure to certain active ingredients used in antibacterial products – for example, triclosan (liquid soaps) and triclocarban (bar soaps) – could pose health risks, such as bacterial resistance or hormonal effects.
Manufacturers were required to provide the agency with additional data on the safety and effectiveness of these ingredients if they wanted to continue marketing antibacterial products containing them. They were also expected to provide data from clinical studies demonstrating that these products were superior to non-antibacterial washes in preventing human illness or reducing infection.
19 Antibacterial Soaps Active Ingredients Banned
Having failed to do this however, the FDA has therefore issued its final ruling on the matter. The following active ingredients are now banned.
- Iodine complex (ammonium ether sulfate and polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate)
- Iodine complex (phosphate ester of alkylaryloxy polyethylene glycol)
- Nonylphenoxypoly (ethyleneoxy) ethanoliodine
- Poloxamer-iodine complex
- Povidone-iodine 5 to 10 percent
- Undecoylium chloride iodine complex
- Methylbenzethonium chloride
- Phenol (greater than 1.5 percent)
- Phenol (less than 1.5 percent) 16
- Secondary amyltricresols
- Sodium oxychlorosene
- Triple dye
Implication for Nigerian consumers
As stated in one of our earlier post on this issue, pending when our own NAFDAC takes an official position on this antibacterial soaps active Ingredients, it is recommended that consumers be aware of the risks of exposure to these ingredients. It is also recommended that they possibly set aside or replace any antibacterial soaps that contains any of these ingredients.
Washing with plain soap and running water remains one of the most important steps consumers can take to avoid getting sick and to prevent spreading germs to others. If soap and water are not available, it is recommended that a consumer uses hand sanitizer instead.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends that such sanitizer should be an alcohol-based one that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.