An estimated 75% of the anti-bacterial liquid soaps and body washes sold in the United States contain triclosan, a germ-killing ingredient. The only problem is, the Food and Drug Administration has no idea whether it actually works — and there’s some evidence it may pose health risks. [USA Today]
Consequently the FDA has “proposed rule requiring manufacturers to prove that their antibacterial cleaners are safe and more effective than plain soap and water”. That’s because when a product is promoted as killing 99.9% of germs, that’s the same result you get from soap and water. However, Antibacterial products can increase resistance in antibiotics.
The advertising used for these products makes consumers think if they wash with them they won’t get sick, said Kweder. “You’ll see pictures of people sneezing and coughing and looking pretty ill.”
But many of those images “look like people who have viral illnesses” such as the common cold, she said. Viruses are the most common cause of infections in the United States and antibacterial agents have no effect on them.
In Australia Dettol, presumably to counter the backlash they see coming, has been heavily promoting their hand wash product via Sophie’s story: