FDA Bans Ingredients in Antibacterial Soaps

A soap sud covered hand

If you haven’t already heard, this week the FDA banned 19 ingredients used in anti-bacterial soaps.  You’ll see these soaps on sale at the market only to disappear from the shelves within one year…unless the soap manufacturers can find a way around the 19 ingredients that were banned.

But why?  Either the ingredients couldn’t be shown to do squat against bacteria, or they posed a potential threat to our bodies.  Interesting to note, the ban is only for the ingredients found in antibacterial soaps, not other household agents that may contain these ingredients (like creams or hand sanitizers).

The 19 ingredients that the FDA banned from market in anti-bacterial soaps are:

  • Cloflucarban;
  • Fluorosalan;
  • Hexachlorophene;
  • Hexylresorcinol;
  • Iodophors;
  • Iodine complex;
  • Iodine complex of phosphate ester of alkylaryloxy polyethylene glycol;
  • Nonylphenoxypoly, or ethyleneoxy, ethanoliodine;
  • Poloxamer, an iodine complex of Povidone-iodine 5 percent to 10 percent;
  • Undecoylium chloride iodine complex;
  • Methylbenzethonium chloride;
  • Phenol greater than 1.5 percent;
  • Phenol less than 1.5 percent;
  • Secondary amyltricresols;
  • Sodium oxychlorosene;
  • Tribromsalan;
  • Triclocarban;
  • Triclosan, and
  • Triple dye.

The initial report I saw on the news mentioned Triclosan and some other ingredients may actually screw with hormones and thyroid levels…but that more research was needed. A study in 2010 found that Triclosan exposure in mice potentially did alter their estrogen-dependent function and suppressed thyroid hormones.  A 2016 study looked at Triclosan exposure and children.  It found that Triclosan exposure, “has been associated with increased responsiveness to airway allergens, with it also capable of endocrine disruption.”

Triclosan can be found in many antibacterial/antimicrobial soaps, as well as in toothpaste, body washes, mouthwash, cosmetics, lotions, deodorant, first aid care (including sunburn products and splints/collars), kitchen utensils, antimicrobial clothes, office supplies, etc.  For an extensive list of items (with brand name examples), please check out Beyond Pesticides.

Don’t get me wrong: it does have antimicrobial properties, and that’s been proven study after study.  It’s just that having an estrogen-driven illness makes me shy away a bit from something that may make it worse…

I’m curious to see how, if at all, things change for the medical community.  From what I’ve read, many of these ingredients are also used in pre- and post-operative scrubs, washes, soaps, and ointments.  I know the ban is focused on consumer soaps: the stuff you and I, the regular Joe Schmoe’s of the world buy…but what about professionals?  Doctors, surgeons, hospitals, etc.?  Aren’t businesses a form of “consumer?”  And if the ban does extend to them, will there be an increase in infections in their realm?

So curious.  What are your thoughts on the whole soap ban?


Beyond Pesticides

Current Opinion in Pediatrics – (Abstract; April 2016) Consumer Products as Sources of Chemical Exposures to Children: Case Study of Triclosan

Disinfection, Sterilization, and Preservation

Food Safety News


Toxicological Sciences – (Article; June 2010) Triclosan Exposure Modulates Estrogen-Dependent Responses in the Female Wistar Rat

U.S. Food & Drug Administration

~ Again, I am a layman.  I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge.  Please take what I say with a grain of salt.  If curious, do your own research 🙂 Validate my writings.  Or challenge them.  And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always.  Yours ~ Lisa

7 thoughts on “FDA Bans Ingredients in Antibacterial Soaps

  1. Isn’t “antibacterial soap” an oxymoron? I mean, versus what, exactly? Since I live under a rock I’m only now hearing about this ban through this post, but I’m pretty stoked it happened. Too much crap gets dumped into personal care and beauty products, time to start focusing more national attention onto the issue. I sure don’t want any extra estrogen, thankyouverymuch!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s