• Quote: Antibacterial soap is a myth, too


    U.S. regulators on Monday issued a proposed rule that would require makers of antibacterial hand soaps and body washes to demonstrate their products are safe and more effective than soap and water in preventing infection and the spread of bacteria.

    “Although consumers generally view these products as effective tools to help prevent the spread of germs, there is currently no evidence that they are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water,” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a statement.

    The FDA said research has suggested long-term exposure to antibacterial chemicals, such as triclosan in liquid soaps and triclocarban in bar soaps, could have hormonal affects and allow bacteria to mutate into harder-to-control strains.

    The agency said companies that fail to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of their products would have to reformulate them to back up the product claims, or re-label them to keep them on store shelves.

    Of course, anyone who read our second book already knew this.


    • It would seem appropriate to require the manufacturers to show that “antibacterial soap” is antibacterial. However, unless they claim it “prevents infection or the spread of bacteria” I don’t see any reason they should be required to prove that it does. Antibacterial soap may have other uses, without its benefits limited to infection control. For example, reducing or altering bacterial content of skin may be appreciated as for personal hygiene, independent of the very small risk of a skin infection. Outlawing that use might be appropriate if it could be shown to be dangerous, just as that would be a good reason to outlaw, say, deodorant. But the investigations of triclosan have been going on for a very long time, but the results are far from conclusive. This could be inappropriately focussed and premature regulation.

      • It would seem appropriate to require the manufacturers to show that “cow beef ” is beef. However, unless they claim it “is made from cow” I don’t see any reason they should be required to prove that it is.

        • Exactly. They don’t have to say one word about it. As long as the pink slime is no more than 15% of your ground beef, everything is just groovy.

          And there’s nothing wrong with that. Right???

          The whole concept really bodes well for an informed consumer base to make fact based decisions in deciding what they put into their bodies. It sure seems like a whole lot more effort into calling this stuff “lean finely textured beef” rather than concerning about having an informed public.

          I’m not sure when people are going to fully realize that marketing is designed to essentially confuse and mislead the consumer. Either we change how we market goods or we regulate with an iron fist.

          • But Pink Slime IS beef. It’s just been treated differently.

            I do think consumers have a right to know how food products are produced, which would differentiate pink slime from what we expect when we buy beef.

        • What about pig beef?

      • Flushing trace amounts of an antibacterial agent into a bacteria-filled sewer, surely that won’t have any unexpected (and unfortunate) side-effects, will it?

        This stuff is not marketed for its niche benefit, it is marketed to kill the deadly germs all around us, and installed in many bathrooms by people who I think want to signal that they care very deeply about hygiene.

        There must be some term describing this irritating line of argument; the idea that X is useful in some crazy special case, therefore, we should not restrict X in the least. Freedumb, perhaps?