FDA to stop sale of some antibacterial cleansers

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- A new ban from the Food and Drug Administration is stopping the sale of some antibacterial hand and body wash products. This ban includes 19 chemicals used in products of concern, but some have been under the microscope for years.

The FDA has looked into several chemicals in antibacterial products over the years to see if they do more harm than good, but they've actually found that the cleansers are no more effective than just plain soap and water.

This makes them unmarketable in the United States.

"They have to be shown not only to be safe, but also to have some effectiveness," said Dr. Scott Harris with the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Because of the ineffectiveness, the FDA says companies will no longer be able to market them as over-the-counter cleansers.

"They have to actually accomplish what they set out to accomplish," Harris said.

There are 19 chemicals in question, but one in particular has been under the microscope for years in terms of their safety and effectiveness.

"Triclosan is used in so many products. It's used in hospitals, it's used in clinics and it's in most of the things that you buy over the counter in the grocery store," Harris said.

This ban is just a part of an on-going government effort to review chemicals that have been used for decades, but have never had a comprehensive review.