WASHINGTON — The federal government said Monday it has no evidence that antibacterial chemicals used in liquid soaps and washes help prevent the spread of germs, and it is reviewing research suggesting they may pose health risks.
Regulators at the Food and Drug Administration said they are
revisiting the safety of chemicals such as triclosan in light of recent
studies suggesting the substances can interfere with hormone levels and
spur the growth of drug-resistant bacteria.
The government's preliminary ruling lends new support to outside
researchers who have long argued that the chemicals are, at best,
ineffective and at worst, a threat to public health.
"The FDA is finally making a judgment call here and asking industry
to show us that these products are better than soap and water, and the
data don't substantiate that," said Stuart Levy of Tufts University
School of Medicine.
Under a proposed rule released Monday, the agency will require
manufacturers to prove that antibacterial soaps and body washes are safe
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