FDA Seeks Evidence from Antibacterial Soap Companies - 8 News NOW

FDA Seeks Evidence from Antibacterial Soap Companies

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LAS VEGAS - A warning by the Food and Drug Administration states antibacterial soaps may not work as well as advertised and could pose a health risk.

FDA officials say they want the makers of these soaps to prove their ingredients actually kill germs and prevent illness. Researchers say not enough data exist to prove an active ingredient in these products, triclosan, kills bacteria.

Studies on rats suggest triclosan can actually alter hormones and reduce bacteria resistance.

"Due to consumers' extensive exposure to the ingredients in antibacterial soaps, we believe there should be a clearly demonstrated benefit from using antibacterial soap to balance any potential risk," said Janet Woodcock, director of FDA Drug Evaluation and Research.

Dr. Jasper Liu, a Las Vegas family physician, says he advises patients to thoroughly and regularly wash their hands with soap and water if they wish to avoid illness. As far as the antibacterial products are concerned, he says there is no reason to toss them out.

"I wouldn't use it as a reason to not buy a particular product, but just understand that the claims that are made by antibacterials may not make it better than the soap that does not make that same claim," he said.

Manufacturers have one year to produce data to back up their antibacterial claims. This rule does not apply to wipes or antibacterial soaps used in hospitals.

If you wish to use a hand sanitizer, use one that is alcohol-based. These products have been proven to effectively kill germs. Health experts recommend regular hand washing, especially when you work in an office in which you share telephones and keyboards.

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