(CNN) — Manufacturers of antibacterial hand soap and body wash will be required to prove their products are more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of infection, under a proposed rule announced Monday by the Food and Drug Administration.
Those manufacturers also will be required to prove their products are safe for long-term use, the agency said.
“Millions of Americans use antibacterial hand soap and body wash products,” the agency said in a statement. “Although consumers generally view these products as effective tools to help prevent the spread of germs, there is currently no evidence that they are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water.
“Further, some data suggest that long-term exposure to certain active ingredients used in antibacterial products — for example, triclosan (liquid soaps) and triclocarban (bar soaps) — could pose health risks, such as bacterial resistance or hormonal effects.”
About 2,000 individual products contain these products, health officials said.