The United States Food and Drug Administration has announced that all antibacterical soaps and body washes will be banned as of 2017.
Concerns were raised over 19 ingredients, the most common of which are triclosan and triclocarban. The two components are widely used in both liquid and bar antibacterial soaps.
NBC News reports that triclosan and triclocarban are thought to disrupt hormones, weaken the immune system, and potentially make bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which has in the past sued the FDA for the use of certain chemicals in antibacterial products, has stated, “It’s outrageous that FDA has waited 35 years to protect the public from this harmful chemical. This final rule should prohibit triclosan from use in soaps.”
The FDA claim that there is no definitive proof yet that triclosan is dangerous to consumers, but that studies indicate there could be.
In a statement the FDA advised that antibacterial washes are no more effective in preventing the spread of germs than plain soap and running water. Science of Us argues that "the human race will be better off if the general public switches to regular soap and alcohol-based sanitiser." (Post continues after gallery.)
The FDA's ruling will apply to approximately 40 per cent of soap products. It will not apply to disinfectant products used in hospitals and medical centres.
Soap manufacturers have been given 12 months to either a) remove the ingredients from their soap products or b) prove that these ingredients are safe and effective.
Environmentalists are in full support of the ban, with Ken Cook, co-founder of The Environmental Working Group, stating that it is "a huge victory on behalf of human health and the environment."
Do you use antibacterial soaps?