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FDA Wants Tighter Rules on Antibacterial Soaps, Body Washes

Makers would have to prove they're safe and effective

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"There is no link between antibacterial products and a decline in infection rates," said Dr. Luz Fonacier, head of the allergy section at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. "Simply washing thoroughly with plain soap is sufficient to reduce bacteria and is effective against viruses.

"However, there are risks and disadvantages on the use of antibacterial products, including soaps and body wash, such as the possibility of development of antibiotic resistance," she added.

Dr. Leonardo Trasande, an associate professor with the Departments of Population Health, Environmental Medicine and Pediatrics at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said: "Given our emerging understanding of chemicals as hormone disruptors, this is a remarkable and positive step toward protecting children. Given suggestive evidence associating triclosan exposure with allergies and concerns about promoting antibiotic resistance, there is little justification for widespread use of triclosan when soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizers are available."

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