FDA Bans 19 Chemicals Used In Antibacterial Soaps

What kind of soap do you typically use in your home? When shopping for soaps to use in your kitchen or your bathroom, you probably don’t consider much other than whether the soap is in liquid or bar form, and, perhaps, the variety of the fragrance. You probably aren’t thinking about the specific chemicals that make up each bar or container of soap. It’s soap, right? You’re probably thinking that it cleans your hands and that’s all there is to it. However, a recent rule issued by the FDA may make you spend some time scrutinizing those labels on your soaps.

On Friday, the FDA issued a rule banning the use of 19 chemicals in hand and body washes. According to the rule, companies have just 1 year to take these ingredients out of their products. If they do not remove the ingredients from their products, they will be removed from the market.

So what chemicals are the FDA referring to? Well, any commercial soaps that make antibacterial claims are likely to have some of these 19 chemicals (according to Theresa Michele, director of the FDA’s Division of Nonprescription Drug Products).

Here’s a list of the 19 chemicals that are being phased out in the next year.

  1. Cloflucarban
  2. Fluorosalan
  3. Hexachlorophene
  4. Hexylresorcinol
  5. Iodine complex (ammonium ether sulfate and polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate)
  6. Iodine complex (phosphate ester of alkylaryloxy polyethylene glycol)
  7. Nonylphenoxypoly (ethyleneoxy) ethanoliodine
  8. Poloxamer-iodine complex
  9. Povidone-iodine 5 to 10 percent
  10. Undecoylium chloride iodine complex
  11. Methylbenzethonium chloride
  12. Phenol (greater than 1.5 percent)
  13. Phenol (less than 1.5 percent) 16
  14. Secondary amyltricresols
  15. Sodium oxychlorosene
  16. Tribromsalan
  17. Triclocarban
  18. Triclosan
  19. Triple dye

Regarding the ban on these chemicals, the FDA issued the following statement:

For these ingredients, either no additional data were submitted or the data and information that were submitted were not sufficient for the agency to find that these ingredients are Generally Recognized as Safe and Effective.

To learn more, be sure to check out NPR’s story on the topic!