The federal Food and Drug Administration is looking into whether or not antibacterial hand soap may be dangerous. The agency’s ruling will be released later this year to determine if a key ingredient in antibacterial products is harmful to consumers.
That ingredient, triclosan, is present in countless everyday products, has been classified since the late 1970s as “not generally recognized as safe or effective.” However, triclosan continues to be used in many forms, including toothpaste. The trade organization American Cleaning Institute claims that the substance is harmless, and the FDA continues to assert that, at the very least, it is unclear if triclosan offers any added benefits to washing with “normal” hand soap.
Dangerous chemicals are often at the forefront of government regulation and public concern. This month, senators in Washington began looking into more federal regulation for potentially-harmful substances. It is critical that chemicals and products that may harm individuals be subject to proper regulatory oversight in order to ensure public safety.
It is not just chemicals such as triclosan that may carry risks; products such as birth control can also harm consumers if they are untested or unsafely-produced. Whatever the product might be, if individuals are unfamiliar with how it is produced, they should investigate just how it is manufactured, and what goes into it, in order to minimize the risks associated with harmful products and substances.