More harm than good?
Supermarket giants Woolworths and Aldi and manufacturers Reckitt Benkiser and Colgate-Palmolive have announced they intend to phase out soap
products containing certain antibacterial chemicals over the next 12 months.
Their move follows in the steps of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which banned antibacterial products containing triclosan and triclocarban in the USA after it was found that these products didn't appear to perform any better than regular soap and water, and may
actually cause harm.
Chemical use in Australia
Neither triclosan nor triclocarban are banned for use in Australia and can still be found in a number of personal care products, from soaps to toothpaste and even cutting
boards and cleaning cloths. This is despite concerns they may contribute to antibiotic resistance and disrupt hormones.
CHOICE has covered the issue of endocrine-disupting chemicals in many personal care products and cosmetics previously, including triclosan.
Hand-washing best practice
Health experts agree that when it comes to keeping clean and healthy, the best approach is a low key one. Washing thoroughly with plain soap and running water is the
best method of keeping hands clean and to avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs. If there's no soap and water available, a hand sanitiser with
at least 60% alcohol will also the job well.