FDA reconsiders regulation of soap ingredients

FDA reconsiders regulation of soap ingredients

January 7, 2014

January 7, 2014

In society's never ending quest to rid itself of pesky germs, are we trading off our long-term health and the health of our planet? Recently, the Food and Drug Administration has revisited the issue regarding the safety of some of the most common antibacterial household products, such as the active ingredients in soaps and toothpaste.
 
The FDA said that it was requiring soap manufacturers to demonstrate that the substances were safe or to take them out of the products altogether.
 
New York Times reporter Sabrina Tavernise covered the FDA decision, which tapped into the expertise of Biodesign's Rolf Halden, who has examined both the human health and environmental consequences of the widespread use of antimicrobials.
 
Tavernise writes:
 
The proposal was applauded by public health experts, who for years have urged the agency to regulate antimicrobial chemicals, warning that they risk scrambling hormones in children and promoting drug-resistant infections, among other things. Producers argue that the substances have long been proved to be safe.
“It’s a big deal that they are taking this on,” said Rolf Halden, the director of the Center for Environmental Security at Arizona State University, who has been tracking the issue for years. “These antimicrobials have taken on a life all of their own,” Dr. Halden said. “Their use has really proliferated.”
Studies in animals have shown that the chemicals, triclosan in liquid soaps and triclocarban in bar soaps, can disrupt the normal development of the reproductive system and metabolism, and health experts warn that their effects could be the same in humans.
 
To read the full article, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/17/health/fda-to-require-proof-that-antibacterial-soaps-are-safe.html?ref=health&_r=1&
 
As a result of the the Times feature, Halden was also interviewed by several other prominent national media reporters.
 
Listen to a podcast and read more below:
 
http://www.wnyc.org/radio/#/ondemand/337223
http://earthdesk.blogs.pace.edu/2013/12/19/antibacterial-soaps-dont-work/

 

Written by: Joe Caspermeyer