Antibacterial soaps may not prevent the spread of germs


POSTED: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 6:51pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 7:51pm

You may want to think twice before squirting that hand sanitizer. The Food and Drug Administration is saying that antibacterial soaps may not prevent the spread of germs, and could even pose significant health risks. So the FDA is challenging the creators of antibacterial products to prove they are more effective than simply washing hands with regular soap and water. If companies cannot prove this, they will be required to re-label or potentially even remove their antibacterial products.

KETK spoke with Ginger Wood from the Environmental Health Department, who said "Antibacterial's are approved. They've been out on the market for quite some time, but there have been no studies that prove it's any more efficient than soap and water".  The FDA believes the risks of antibacterial soaps and body washes are greater than the benefits.

These risks involve the safety of certain chemicals in antibacterial soaps, like triclosan and triclocarban, that are already banned in other countries. Antibacterial products do not kill all germs, and if the two combine it may lead to drug resistant super bugs. Wood shared, "Antibacterial items can, over a long term, produce a disease resistant strain of bacteria that is an item of concern right now".  

Luckily, there are ways to avoid this issue. Washing your hands with regular soap and water is a safe bet. Dr. Hope Short from the Short Family Medical Center, said, "The bigger issue is that people are not washing their hands properly or often enough". When washing your hands, it's important to continue for 20 seconds, or enough time to sing the "Happy Birthday" song. Scrubbing is also important, because the friction causes the leftover debris to loosen. Most doctors agree this will solve the problem.  

Comments News Comments

Hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap are two different things. "Antibacterial" soap may not be more effective than regular soap, but hand sanitizer is an alcohol-based gel that has nothing to do with soap.

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