Robert G. Bell, Ph.D. is president and owner of Drug and Biotechnology Development LLC, a consultancy to the pharmaceutical industry and academia for biological, drug, and device development.
With the holidays rolling in, there will be lots of hugging and handshakes–and the use of antibacterial soap to keep the germs away. However, it appears the use of antibacterial soap (ABS) could be part of the problem by contributing to bacterial resistance to antibiotics. In addition, some of the ingredients commonly found in ABS may carry unnecessary human and environmental risks given that their benefits are unproven. According to Colleen Rogers, Ph.D., a lead microbiologist at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there currently is no evidence that over-the-counter (OTC) antibacterial soap products are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water. Furthermore, ABS products contain chemical ingredients such as triclosan and triclocarban, which may carry unnecessary risks given that their benefits are unproven. For instance, the Environmental Protection Agency regulates triclosan as a pesticide and is currently updating its assessment of its effects when used as a pesticide. Continue reading