Antibacterial Soaps Could Be a Total Waste

A new study pours cold water on the sudsy $450 million soap market

Like most Americans, you've probably contributed to the $450 million market for antibacterial soaps, under the impression that they would ward off any number of harmful microbes. (Staph, strep and E. coli, for example, have all been found on bathroom doorknobs.) But according to a new proposal from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), those extra dollars may have been a total waste.

A growing number of studies suggest that antimicrobial chemicals like triclosan--used in soaps from Henkel (maker of Dial), Procter & Gamble (maker of Safeguard) and other companies--may cause harms like hormone disruption. Citing that research, the FDA is...

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