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FDA Bans Marketing of Certain Antiseptic Wash Products

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Antibacterial product manufacturers may have to reformulate per a new FDA ruling.

Over-the-counter antiseptic wash products containing any of 19 active ingredients (including triclosan and triclocarban) are not demonstrably better than conventional soap and water in preventing the spread of illness and infections and therefore can no longer be marketed, according to a new U.S. FDA ruling.

A number of wash product manufacturers have already begun to remove these ingredients from their products. Manufacturers will have one year to comply with the rule by removing products from the market or reformulating these products.

The ruling does not affect consumer hand sanitizers or wipes, or antibacterial products used in health care settings.

"Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water," said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). "In fact, some data that suggests antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term."