Antibacterial soaps under scrutiny

19/12/2013 15:01

The Consumer Council of Fiji is calling on the key stakeholders in the health sector to re-look at the antibacterial soaps and body washes which comes with a claim that people using them will stay away from falling sick.

Many consumers are buying antibacterial soaps and body washes, which are readily available in the Fijian market these days, some are even locally produced, therefore, it is crucial to know ifthese products are indeed worth the claim of fighting germs.

We have locally produced antibacterial soaps, medicated soaps and hand washes carrying labels such as: “antibacterial hand wash ensures 99 per cent germ removal, after use, no other medicated soap is needed” while another one reads: “this soap eliminates common bacteria onthe skin creating a protective barrier”.

Weather these products truly kill 99 per cent germs or act as protective barriers is indeed amatter to be tested and the Council would like to see the evidence.

The Council’s call comes in light of a recent statement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wanting the makers of antibacterial hand soaps and body washes to prove their products are safe for long-term daily use and more effective than regular soaps inpreventing illness and the spread of certain infections.

The U.S. FDA stated that unless companies can do that, they would have to reformulate or relabel these products if they want to keep them on the market. FDA has not been provided with data that shows these products are "any more effective at preventing people from getting sickthan washing with plain soap and water."

Welcoming such a move, the Council is also urging the relevant authorities here to scrutinizethese products which are flocking our markets and is calling for a system to be put in place whereby the local manufacturers and importers must provide evidence. Otherwise, the products should not be carrying labels with antibacterial claims and should be relabeled.