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Study Confirms No Link Between Real World Use of Antibacterial Soaps and Antibiotic Resistance

07.10.2011
• Research in Peer-Reviewed Journal Reaffirms Safe Use of Triclosan, Triclocarban in Antibacterial Soaps and Washes

• Study Discounts Claims That Antibacterial Products and Ingredients Contribute to Antibiotic Resistance

Newly published research reaffirms that the use of antibacterial wash products in the home environment does not contribute to antibiotic or antibacterial resistance, confirming previous research that showcased similar findings.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Microbiology Research, compared the use of over-the-counter antibacterial liquid hand and body cleansers and antibacterial bar soaps – containing the germ-killing ingredients triclosan and triclocarban – against the use of non-antibacterial cleansers.

Lead author Dr. Eugene Cole, who has spent more than 35 years in the field of environmental health research, says the study discounts claims that the use of antibacterial wash products have contributed to the selection and spread of drug-resistant bacteria on human skin.

Research Protocol

From a pool of more than 450 individuals, 210 study participants were randomly selected, 70 for each of three groups: 1) those that frequently used liquid bath or shower products containing triclosan; 2) those that frequently used bar soaps containing triclocarban; and 3) those that did not use any antibacterial wash products and thus served as the control group.

A standard method for swabbing both forearms of all participants was used to collect samples of Staphylococcus bacteria, which were then tested against several different types of antibiotics that are commonly used to treat Staph infections.

The experimental results showed that there was no increase in the antibiotic resistance of the Staph strains isolated from either group that had been using antibacterial wash products, when compared to those isolates obtained from the control group. And those bacteria also showed no increased resistance to triclosan or triclocarban.

“There was no statistically significant difference in antibiotic resistance of Staphylococcus isolates obtained from the skin of regular antibacterial wash product users in comparison with non-antibacterial product users,” said Dr. Cole, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences of Brigham Young University’s Department of Health Science. “There was also a definitive lack of antibiotic and antibacterial cross resistance among those bacteria.”

The research was supported by the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) and the Personal Products Council.

“Hygiene product manufacturers and ingredient suppliers continuously review and analyze research and fund new studies to ensure product and ingredient efficacy and safety. This is part of our industry’s long-standing commitment to product stewardship,” said Dr. Francis Kruszewski, ACI Director of Human Health and Safety. “After decades of use, antibacterial wash products continue to play a beneficial role in everyday hygiene routines for millions of people around the world.”

“Investigation of Antibiotic and Antibacterial Susceptibility and Resistance in Staphylococcus from the Skin of Users and Non-Users of Antibacterial Wash Products in Home Environments” was authored by Dr. Eugene Cole, along with R.M. Addison, Duke University Medical Center, Clinical Microbiology/Infectious Diseases; P.D. Dulaney, Applied Environmental, Inc.; K.E. Leese, Applied Environmental, Inc.; H.M. Madanat, San Diego State University, Graduate School of Public Health; and A.M. Guffey, Applied Environmental, Inc.

Links to this and other studies demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps are available online at www.FightGermsNow.com.

The American Cleaning Institute® (ACI - formerly The Soap and Detergent Association) is the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry® and represents the $30 billion U.S. cleaning products market. ACI members include the formulators of soaps, detergents, and general cleaning products used in household, commercial, industrial and institutional settings; companies that supply ingredients and finished packaging for these products; and oleochemical producers. ACI (www.cleaninginstitute.org) and its members are dedicated to improving health and the quality of life through sustainable cleaning products and practices.

Based in Washington, D.C., the Personal Care Products Council is the leading national trade association representing the global cosmetic and personal care products industry. Founded in 1894, the Council's more than 600 member companies manufacture, distribute, and supply the vast majority of finished personal care products marketed in the U.S. As the makers of a diverse range of products millions of consumers rely on every day, from sunscreens, toothpaste and shampoo to moisturizer, lipstick and fragrance, personal care products companies are global leaders committed to product safety, quality and innovation. For more information on cosmetic and personal care products, visit www.CosmeticsInfo.org.

Brian Sansoni | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.cleaninginstitute.org

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