US Food and Drug Administration’s ban antibacterial soaps containing ingredients such as triclosan because of evidence they can pose health risks, such as bacterial resistance.

Friends of the Earth has welcomed the ban with Louise Sales from Friends of the Earth’s Emerging Tech Project saying“ the continued use of potent antimicrobials such as triclosan and nano-silver in consumer products is contributing to a crisis that the World Health Organisation has labelled one of the greatest threats to human health today.”

“Health experts agree that the widespread use of antimicrobials such as triclosan and nano-silver in consumer products will further increase the problem of superbugs. We should restrict the use of these powerful antimicrobials to hospitals, where they are needed most.”

“More than 7000 Australians die each year from superbugs – that’s four times our annual road toll. The government needs to take urgent action to tackle this growing public health crisis and ban the use of these ingredients in consumer products.”

A 2013 UNSW study found that overexposure to silver nanoparticles can cause potentially harmful bacteria to rapidly adapt and flourish.

“This is the first study that has demonstrated that a widely occurring bacteria can adapt quite rapidly to the antimicrobial action of nano-silver. It raises serious concerns that the widespread use of nano-silver in consumer products could be helping to breed superbugs,” said Ms Sales.

“The medical community has been turning to nano-silver as an antimicrobial of last resort to prevent superbug infections. But at the same time, many companies have been marketing nano-silver as an ingredient in everyday products such as socks, underpants and toothbrushes.”

“For too long, industry has been preying on public fears and commercialising a range of anti-microbial products that pose a major public health risk. It’s time for the Federal Government to regain control and put public health before private profit.”

“The banning of triclosan by the US Food and Drug Administration is great news, although it is tragically about two decades too late. It’s a classic example of a new chemical which initially went unregulated – and after decades of potential harm is only now being regulated. It really illustrates the need for a precautionary approach to the regulation of chemicals and new technologies. Unfortunately our Federal Government is currently moving in the opposite direction,” Ms Sales concluded.

Should Australia also ban antibacterial soaps?

Share your comments below.

Image via shutterstock

  • Our government should definitely ban antibacterial soaps. These were not manufactured when either I or my children were small and we all managed to survive without any nasty bugs attacking us! There is far too much fuss over so-called hygiene these days. As long as we maintain a clean home there is no need to be wiping surfaces and washing hands with these types of products.


  • Medical practitioners use it to prevent the spread of germs etc.
    People with low immune system such as those undergoing Chemotherapy which “kills” their immune system use a hand sanitization product after EVERY thing they touch outside of their home….plus their own toilet, its door etc. A cold, virus or any contagious illness could literally put their lives at risk.


  • An interesting topic and I have read a lot about anti bacterial soaps.


  • My son has had golden staph as an infant/toddler, which was very scary when he was hospitalised and it ate away at the top.of his hands and various other parts of his body. I have also had a superbug and it does really make you pause and think. The trouble is we as a family were probably more prone to contracting these things in the first instance, as my son as a baby and young child has severe atopic ezcema, which gave him poor skin integrity and increased his risk and I worked in health, dealing with people with all sorts of illnesses, including super bugs.


  • Yeah, I think a bit of dirt is ok too.
    Washing hands is ok but doesn’t need to happen with anti bacterial soap in my opnion


  • maybe thats the plan to make sure enough of us cant fight superbugs off. sorry a bit of conspiracy there, but you never know. i beleive way to many mums are keeping thier kids too clean, when we are young we need dirt and grass etc, to build up immunity.


  • In my idea yes. Australia should ban them too. It’s a very big problem nowadays.


  • This will definitely make me think again about buying! There’s always something we have to worry about :\


  • If these anti bacterial products are shown to increase resistance to super bugs then we should avoid buying them, whether the government bans them or not.


  • My daughter had a super bug, so we know all about it. She was in hospital for 6 days and had to receive 4 different combinations of antibiotics before they worked. Very scary time for our family!


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