On Friday, September 2nd, 2016, the US FDA made a ruling that, to most scientists who study the human microbiome, couldn’t have come soon enough. The agency ruled that antibacterial soaps do more harm than they do good, and placed a ban on 19 different chemicals frequently used in such soaps.
Though a small number of experts have been clamouring for a closer examination of the necessity and efficacy of such chemicals for years, demand for an FDA ruling had grown especially strong in the past 5 years, thanks to a plethora of new research and a growing public awareness of the importance that good bacteria plays in promoting overall health.
It is worth noting that a handful of antibacterial chemicals escaped the ban for now, however, the FDA ruled that further research would be necessary in order to evaluate the risks and benefits of those substances. Moreover, the ban applies only to hand soaps--the FDA ruled that the benefits of antibacterial substances in toothpaste (fighting plaque and gum disease) do outweigh the potential downside. In brief, the FDA is more focused on limiting exposure to antibacterial substances rather than eliminating it entirely.
Adding to the outcry against antibacterial soaps: many of the substances used in these soaps (triclocarban, for example) can have a serious and long-lasting impact on the environment.
Here at CosmosID, we have been on the front lines of microbiome research for years--and we strive to inform both scientists and the public of the latest issues surrounding microbial research. To learn more, visit CosmosID online today.