This past Friday, the Food and Drug Administration announced its ban on the sale of antibacterial soaps containing harmful chemicals– this included a total of nineteen different chemicals, with triclosan and triclocarban being the most common. Research into animals exposed to these chemicals showed significant disruption in hormone regulation. Now, major concerns about the risks these hormonal imbalances pose to developing children is an issue–in addition to the alarming increase of drug-resistant infections.
This rule first surfaced back in 2013, when the FDA announced that companies selling products with these chemicals must prove that the benefits outweigh the risks. When the companies could not produce sufficient evidence supporting this, the FDA announced its ban.
The FDA’s decision to ban chemicals that are potentially harmful to growth and development in children as well as the overall risk it poses to the general health of the population is a responsible move on their behalf. As a regulating agency that oversees the numerous products the United States’ population consumes, it is their duty to stop the production and distribution of any and all known harmful materials or substances to the general public as well as regulate the corporations distributing said substances.
The fact that this decision took so long is troubling however, and in addition to the responsibilities previously stated, providing protection in a timely manner that eliminates any threats as soon as possible is yet another duty that falls upon this agency.
Admittedly, the FDA did insist the companies provide data regarding the issue– trials of these sorts do tend to take time and careful consideration– however, the FDA perhaps should have issued more public record regarding their concerns, as keeping the people informed is another part of keeping them safe. If the general public had been made aware of the situation before the ban, they could have made their own choice on whether or not to continue using those products.