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Originally published December 20 2013

FDA may ban antibacterial soap ingredients such as triclosan

by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Soap, shampoo and personal care product manufacturers have been adding it to their consumer formulas for decades, even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it has never been proven safe or effective. But now the agency is proposing that triclosan, a common antibacterial chemical found in hand soaps, be accompanied by scientific evidence proving its safety and efficacy, or else not be allowed on the market.

On December 16, the FDA published an official proposal in the Federal Register that would require manufacturers to provide more solid evidence in support of the use of both triclosan and triclocarban, two controversial additives that recent studies have shown are both ineffective and harmful. Triclosan, as you may recall, is a highly persistent endocrine-disrupting chemical that we previously reported can cause brain damage and cancer.

"New data suggest that the risks associated with long-term, daily use of antibacterial soaps may outweigh the benefits," said FDA lead microbiologist Colleen Rogers, Ph.D., in a recent statement. "There are indications that certain ingredients in these soaps may contribute to bacterial resistance to antibiotics, and may have unanticipated hormonal effects that are of concern to FDA."

Since the alleged effectiveness of antibacterial soaps to prevent infection has never been directly tested, there technically exists no evidence whatsoever that either triclosan or triclocarban are antibacterial in nature. In the meantime, a growing body of evidence suggests that triclosan is a leading cause of bacterial resistance to antibiotics, not to mention a major environmental pollutant that is bioaccumulating in fish and other aquatic organisms.

"Animal studies have shown that triclosan may alter the way hormones work in the body," admits the FDA. "While data showing effects in animals don't always predict effects in humans, these studies are of concern to FDA as well, and warrant further investigation to better understand how they might affect humans."

Make your voice heard on the issue of triclosan in consumer products by June 14

The FDA is encouraging consumers, clinicians, environmental groups, scientists, industry representatives and others concerned about the safety of triclosan to weigh in on the issue during the next 180 days. This means Natural News readers have until June 14 to make their voices heard about this important issue.

The FDA is also reportedly collaborating with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish improved science and regulatory protocols for triclosan. Coming from two different perspectives -- the EPA regulates triclosan as a pesticide while the FDA considers it a drug -- the two agencies hope to better assess how triclosan affects both humans and the environment.

"Manufacturers who want to continue marketing affected antibacterial products will be required to provide regulators with additional data on the products' effectiveness, including data from clinical studies to demonstrate that these products are superior to non-antibacterial soaps in preventing human illness or reducing infection, the agency said in a statement," Ricardo Lopez wrote for the Los Angeles Times about the proposal.

To comment on the FDA's triclosan proposal, visit

You can also keep up to date with the EPA's assessment of triclosan's safety by visiting the agency's pesticide registration page:

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