In the early 2000s we posted a message at this site entitled Health Scam. The message warned about the health risks of antibacterial soap. In particular we looked at Colgate Palmolive antibacterial Softsoap advertised as “gentle enough for the whole family”.
Every product shipped has to have a OSHA regulated form called a “Materials Safety Data Sheet”. This form is meant to protect workers shipping and handling products so I looked up the “MSDS” on Softsoap.
Get ready to cringe. The “MSDS” on this chemical based formula that is “gentle enough for the whole family” states under the general controls section “Avoid contact with skin and eyes.” It warns workers to wear rubber gloves and protective goggles while using this. How this warning is mysteriously converted into gentleness on the store shelves is beyond me.
Finally more than a decade later the FDA is catching on. A New York Times Health article entitled: “F.D.A. Questions Safety of Antibacterial Soaps” by Sabrina Tavernise tells us more. Here is an exceprt to the article linked below: After years of mounting concerns that the antibacterial chemicals that go into everyday items like soap and toothpaste are doing more harm than good, the Food and Drug Administration said on Monday that it was requiring soap manufacturers to demonstrate that the substances were safe or to take them out of the products altogether.
The proposal was applauded by public health experts, who for years have urged the agency to regulate antimicrobial chemicals, warning that they risk scrambling hormones in children and promoting drug-resistant infections, among other things.
Studies in animals have shown that the chemicals, triclosan in liquid soaps and triclocarban in bar soaps, can disrupt the normal development of the reproductive system and metabolism, and health experts warn that their effects could be the same in humans. The chemicals were originally used by surgeons to wash their hands before operations, and their use exploded in recent years as manufacturers added them to a variety of products, including mouthwash, laundry detergent, fabrics and baby pacifiers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the chemicals in the urine of three-quarters of Americans.
This does not mean we can let our guard down.
Producers of anti bacterial soap argue that the substances have long been proved to be safe. This is a billion dollar business and the industry will fight. Here is more from that New York Times article:
The industry argued that the active ingredients in antimicrobial soaps are over-the-counter drugs that go through rigorous reviews by the F.D.A., including of data. Two trade groups, the American Cleaning Institute and the Personal Care Products Council, cited a review of two dozen studies they said showed washing hands with antimicrobial soaps produces “statistically greater reductions in bacteria on the skin” than with plain soap.
“In some instances, these products have been found to be critical in the reduction of infection and disease,” the groups said. They said they intended to file comments to the F.D.A. “reaffirming” that the use of antibacterial wash products does not contribute to antibiotic resistance.
Merri’s and my answer is the same as with cleansing our food. We use Purely Green.
This is an amazingly powerful cleanser that we use to clean our hands, body, hair, floor, sinks and surfaces, as well as dishes but we also use it to clean away heavy oil, dirt or grime as well. There are no no hazardous chemicals in Purely Green.