I am an antibacterial soap hater. I hate that shit. It's stupid, bad for your skin, and what is most obnoxious is that it doesn't even do anything. Now, the FDA is taking a strong stance against it with new requirements for proving its efficacy.

Under a proposed rule released Monday, the agency will require manufacturers to prove that anti-bacterial soaps are safe and more effective than plain soap and water. Products that are not shown to be safe and effective by late 2016 would have to be reformulated, relabeled or removed from the market. [Link from AP]

The FDA has been looking at triclosan, the active ingredient in antibacterial soaps, for decades and has yet to find any conclusive evidence

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.

So, in honour of this, here is a Smithsonian article listing five reasons to kick the antibacterial habit, including:

1. Antibacterial soaps are no more effective than conventional soap and water:

42 years of FDA research—along with countless independent studies—have produced no evidence that triclosan provides any health benefits as compared to old-fashioned soap.



3. The soaps could act as endocrine disruptors:

A number of studies have found that, in rats, frogs and other animals, triclosan appears to interfere with the body's regulation of thyroid hormone, perhaps because it chemically resembles the hormone closely enough that it can bind to its receptor sites. If this is the case in humans, too, there are worries that it could lead to problems such as infertility, artificially-advanced early puberty, obesity and cancer.


A couple of these seem like slightly dodgy reasons to me, but the article overall is worth a read.