What does "antibacterial" mean, and is it better than regular soap and water? The Food and Drug Administration says there's no evidence to back up such claims. In a press release and a post on the FDA website, the agency explains that antibacterial soap won't prevent the spread of germs any better than regular hand washing.
The FDA explains, "To date, the benefits of using antibacterial hand soap haven't been proven. In addition, the wide use of these products over a long time has raised the question of potential negative effects on your health." The announcement will affect many brands with false claims:
"Companies will no longer be able to market antibacterial washes with these ingredients because manufacturers did not demonstrate that the ingredients are both safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections. Some manufacturers have already started removing these ingredients from their products."
Manufacturers were criticized for lacking evidence:
"Because the manufacturers haven't proven that those ingredients are safe for daily use over a long period of time. Also, manufacturers haven't shown that these ingredients are any more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illnesses and the spread of certain infections. Some manufacturers have already started removing these ingredients from their products, ahead of the FDA's final rule."
- Chapter 9 describes types of evidence. What principles apply in this situation?
- Antibacterial brands will have a difficult time defending their products. What advice would you give brand managers?