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FDA questions if antibacterial soaps are effective

By: Canadian Living
Canadian Living
Health

FDA questions if antibacterial soaps are effective

By: Canadian Living

At this time of year there is nothing I love better than holiday-scented soap bring on the candy cane flavours. Unfortunately those scented soaps I love may not actually be effective in killing germs. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has told soap and body wash companies like Dial that they must prove their products labeled "antibacterial" are actually effective.  This means they have to show that their product kills germs as well as plain old soap and water. If they fail to do so by late 2016, they either have to relabel their product so it doesn't say "antibacterial" or take the soaps and body washes off the shelves. The FDA is also questioning if antibacterial soaps are even safe because they contain triclosan and triclocarban. The Mayo Clinic says there isn't enough evidence to say that triclosan is unsafe for use. But there are studies that show it alters hormone levels in rats, may be harmful to the immune system and may create antibiotic-resistant germs.  According to the FDA, studies on animals don't prove that humans will react in the same way. But they are doing further studies on the chemical to determine its effect on humans. I know that the FDA is a US body, but a lot of the products being investigated in the US are found in Canada. After hearing about the FDA's ruling, I raced to my bathroom to read the label on my favourite brand of antibacterial soap. It contained triclosan. Nothing of course has been proven about the effects of triclosan,  though there are reports of it being linked to infertility and cancer. But my motto is it's better to be safe than sorry, so I am going to avoid using products with triclosan. I am sad that I won't have my beloved scented soap, but thankfully I have found a solution. I talked to Tovah Paglaro, the queen of green for the David Suzuki Foundation, a couple of months ago about ways to save money. She told me how you can create your own scented soap, which not only saves you money, but also means you can avoid triclosan. To make your own soap, mix an eighth of pure castile soap with a bit of water. Then add a few drops of essential oils in the scent of your choice. Voila, you have your own scented soap without any potentially harmful chemicals. What are your thoughts on the FDA's decision? Photo courtesy of FlickrCC/FXGT
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FDA questions if antibacterial soaps are effective

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