Many families will purchase antibacterial soaps in hopes that they prevent germs at a higher rate than regular soap. However, this is not always the case. The FDA has declared the active ingredients found in anti-bacterial soaps, triclosan and triclocaran, unsafe for daily use and ineffective in preventing illnesses.
What did the FDA have to say?
While this ruling does not apply to hand sanitizers or wipes, anti-bacterial soaps have not been proven to prevent the spread of germs and in some cases cause more harm than good. The FDA banned 19 different chemicals often found in anti-bacterial soaps. Anti-bacterial soaps found in hospitals and food services settings are the only exceptions to this rule.
The FDA took part in various testing methods to later conclude to creating these rules. Here’s what they did:
Step 1: Put 20 dangerous bacteria strains in Petri dishes with antibacterial soap and regular soap to test the germ-killing abilities.
Step 2: Heat samples from 72 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 seconds to simulate exposure to warm hand-washing water.
Step 3: Spread said bacteria onto the hands of 16 adults.
Step 4: Make adults wash their hands for 30 seconds using either antibacterial or regular soap, then have their hands tested to see how much bacteria remained.
The findings showed that there was no significant difference between results from the two soaps. After additional research, they determined that it was only after 9 hours of constant soaking exposure that antibacterial soap performed significantly better than regular soap. So unless people are soaking their hands for 9 hours at a time, they shouldn’t see a difference either way in which product they use.
The study proves antibacterial soaps aren’t any more effective than simply using regular soap and water. Besides being not as advertised when killing germs, anti-bacterial soaps have been suggested to affect hormone levels and causing changes in thyroid functions.
Further research on these anti-bacterial soaps has shown that the potentially harmful chemicals found in these soaps can be potentially absorbed into the body. Various “super bugs” have also shown and immunity towards the antibiotics intended to fight them.
What does this mean for anti-bacterial soap users?
If you’re an antibacterial hand soap kind of girl, keep using it! If you’re a die-hard natural soap guy, kudos to you! The only downfall is that it's more expensive. This study simply really affirmed the idea that when it comes to some things, it’s better to just go with what you know.