In early September this year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned several key chemicals in antibacterial hand soap, warning of health risks and saying they were not more effective than an ordinary soap. The forbidden 19 ingredients include the two most common, triclosan (TCN) and triclocarban (TCC), which are widely included in liquid and bar antibacterial soaps despite fears that they damage the immune system.
“Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water. In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long term,” said Janet Woodcock, director of FDA’s drugs division.
At present, while about a dozen hand-wash brands are still boasting of their cleaning abilities in India, some companies in the United States have already started removing such ingredients from their products to comply with the FDA regulations. Companies in the USA will no longer be able to market antibacterial washes with these ingredients because manufacturers did not demonstrate that the ingredients are both safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections.
As per Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), antibacterial soaps are permitted to contain TCN or TCC up to one per cent (maximum) of the total volume. This standard may change in the near future as Team CV has written to BIS with a request to revise/amend the related Indian Standard on soaps. The test findings as well as the FDA ruling have also been shared with them. Additionally, the team
Consumer Voice’s to August 2016 issue of the magazine) significance and a fresh perspective.
The team conducted antibacterial activity, ‘zone of inhibition’ and bacterial kill efficacy tests in the lab to judge the effectiveness of 10 popular liquid handwash brands in removal/killing of microbes/germs.
The test findings clearly reveal that all the brands/variants, irrespective of containing triclosan (TCN) or triclocarban (TCC), are quite effective in keeping off the germs if the hands are firmly rubbed with liquids/soap cakes and washed. Interestingly, the test findings show that the hand-wash soaps/liquids are equally effective even if TCC/TCN is not added. Therefore, addition of these highly toxic chemicals is not needed.
Hence, we at Consumer Voice propose ‘no use’/ ban of triclosan and triclocarban, or similar toxic chemicals, in regularly used hand-wash liquid/soaps.