It’s everywhere in stores: household cleaning and personal hygiene products that tout the phrases “antibacterial” or “kills 99.9% of bacteria.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that there is currently no evidence that these products “are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water.”
Recently, a proposed rule from the FDA was released, which requires “manufacturers of antibacterial hand soaps and body washes to demonstrate that their products are safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections.” This is part of a larger, ongoing review of the active ingredients in these antibacterial products.
It’s important to note that according to the FDA, “This proposed rule does not affect hand sanitizers, wipes, or antibacterial products used in health care settings.”
At the finalization of the proposed rule, companies of these products will either have to show data that supports the antibacterial claims, or they will have to re-formulate and re-label in order to continue marketing the item.
Celeste Jo Walls, Editor