Statement From the American Cleaning Institute Regarding Antibacterial Soaps

The FDA action did not ban antibacterial soap.  FDA regulated 19 active ingredients that were obsolete in the antibacterial hand wash market or are otherwise being phased out by product manufacturers (such as triclosan and triclocarban).

It took no action on any active ingredients used in antibacterial soaps for healthcare or food handler purposes, which will be subject of future rules.

The American Cleaning Institute and its member companies will submit additional safety and effectiveness data on the major ingredients in use in consumer antibacterial soaps today that are unaffected by the FDA rule: benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride and chloroxylenol.

FDA’s action was completely consistent with our expectations.  The agency was operating under a Consent Order as a result of a 2011 lawsuit.

Consumer antibacterial soaps and washes continue to be safe and effective products for millions of people every single day.

Antibacterial soaps are critical to public health because of the importance hand hygiene plays in the prevention of infection.

Washing the hands with an antiseptic soap can help reduce the risk of infection beyond that provided by washing with non-antibacterial soap and water.

The FDA already has in its hands data that shows the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps. Manufacturers are continuing their work to provide even more science and research to fill data gaps identified by FDA.

Consumers can continue to use antibacterial soaps with confidence as they have for decades in millions of homes, offices, schools, daycare centers and other commercial settings.

More information on antibacterial soap safety and effectiveness can be found at

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