Lewis Diuguid

Suds of debate foams over antibacterial soaps

Some big companies have made a lot of money marketing antibacterial soaps to protective parents who hope the products will help them better shield their kids from germs.

On the other side of the issue are health experts who’ve said that the extra effort actually hurts kids because children’s own bodies aren’t able to developed the needed resistance to harmful bugs. But now the Food and Drug Administration is throwing a wrench into the whole works, saying there is no evidence that the antibacterial soaps prevent the spread of germs.

The FDA is requiring makers of the antibacterial soaps to prove that they are safe and more effective than regular soap and water. The Associated Press also reports that recent studies indicate that triclosan and similar compounds interfere with harmone levels in lab animals and stimulate the growth of drug-resistant bacteria.

A spokesman for the cleaning products industry says there are benefits from using antibacterial soaps.

What’s a concerned parent to do?