You Don’t Need Antimicrobial Soaps

A year ago the FDA took the majority of antimicrobial and antiseptic soaps off the market. The reasons: lack of proof of their long-term safety, prefaced by the fact that plain soap and water work as well for preventing infections and illness. Now a group of scientists and medical professionals has weighed in on the subject, focusing on products marketed to replace those taken off the market with a statement urging consumers not to buy the replacements. Their view is that the new products contain chemicals that may be more concerning than the triclosan and triclocarban in the ones taken off the market. The statement also warned that antimicrobials are now commonplace in paints, exercise mats, flooring, apparel, food storage containers, home textiles, electronics, kitchenware, school supplies and countertops. Antimicrobial preservatives may be useful in paints, but claims about health benefits in other products are largely invalid, according to Bill Walsh, President of Healthy Building Network, which recently produced a white paper on antimicrobial building products. The bottom line here is that soap and water will do as good a job at protecting against illness as antimicrobial and antibacterial soaps, and there is no need for antimicrobials in other products.

Barbara Stattler et al, “The Florence Statement on Triclosan and Triclocarban.” Environmental Health Perspectives, June 2017, DOI:10.1289/EHP1788Heart


Also in this week’s health bulletin: 


If you are tired of too many prescriptions – and have had enough of taking medications for ailments that may not require them – then my new book may be for you: Mind Over Meds looks at the problem of overmedication, the science that shows drugs aren’t always the best option, as well as helpful, reliable integrative medicine approaches.

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