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Very very big microbe news: FDA bans antibacterial soaps w/ triclosan & other chems

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Well, this is enormously big news:

The FDA today banned the use of triclosan as an ingredient in antibacterial soaps, saying that such cleaners were no better than regular soap.

Source: FDA bans antibacterial soaps containing triclosan

Lots and lots and lots of other stories about this. See for example

The ban applies to (added some links 9/3 to Pubchem entries for these)

And if you want … become a Guardian of Microbial Diversity

Update 1: 5:30 PM Sept 2

Lots and lots of additional stories about this.  Here are some links:

Also – some quotes from the FDA Press Release

“Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). “In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term.”


Antibacterial hand and body wash manufacturers did not provide the necessary data to establish safety and effectiveness for the 19 active ingredients addressed in this final rulemaking.

Update 2: 745 PM 9/2

Fixed the list (had previously had too many items under the Iodine group) and fixed the image.

Update 3: 9:20 AM 9/3

Some more stories worth looking at

Made a Storify of some responses

UPDATE 9/6 – Some additional coverage
“A lot of the marketing has been over-the-top germophobia—kill all germs everywhere, and we will all be safer seems to be the thought,” Jonathan Eisen, a University of California, Davis, evolutionary biologist who studies the ecology and evolution of microbial communities, told me. Biologist Eisen isn’t so sure. He was surprised to find triclosan in his toothpaste and blogged about it a couple of years ago.

“Overall, it seems like that (triclosan in toothpaste) was mostly about marketing, too,” Eisen told me. “And given that there is growing evidence that messing with the human microbiome has some risks, putting antimicrobials in toothpaste when the benefits are doubtful seems, well, unwise.”

Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. My lab is in the UC Davis Genome Center and I hold appointments in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine and the Department of Evolution and Ecology in the College of Biological Sciences. My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis (see my lab site here which has more information on lab activities).  In addition to research, I am heavily involved in the Open Access publishing and Open Science movements.