However, the problem is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not know whether the chemical works or not and there appears to be some evidence it could poses risks to users’ health.
In order to be sure, on Monday the FDA issued a proposed ruling that requires manufacturers to prove the antibacterial cleaners they sell are safe and have more efficacy than just plain soap and water.
If the manufacturers cannot show its products to be effective and safe, the soaps will have to be relabeled or reformulated to remain on store shelves.
The Personal Care Products Council and the American Cleaning Institute released a joint statement that said they were perplexed that the FDA would suggest that no evidence exists that the antibacterial soaps are more beneficial as this industry has provided data for a long time about the efficacy and safety of the products.
The statement concluded by saying that for more than 20 years the manufacturers of the products have made available large amounts of information and data to the FDA about the efficacy and safety of this product category.
However, the FDA does not see it that way. In a statement, the FDA said consumers automatically assume that by using products such as antibacterial soap that they are better protecting themselves and their loved ones from illness. Nonetheless, we do not have the evidence in hand that the products are any better than just plain soap and water.
The advertising of the products makes consumers think that by washing with the products they will not get sick, said a FDA spokesperson. Many people seen in advertisements look to be coughing and sneezing looking quite ill.
However, those images appear to be people who are suffering from viral illnesses like the common cold. Viruses said the FDA spokesperson are the most common cause of getting infections here in the U.S. and the antibacterial products do not have any effect on them.
At present the only use for which the chemical Triclosan has show effectiveness is an ingredient that is anti-gingivitis in toothpaste, said the regulatory spokesperson.