After all, antibacterial soaps may not be more beneficial than ordinary soap


The latest issue of the Scientific American (Sept 2, 2016) highlighted the recent decision of the  U.S. Food and Drug Administration  on banning 19 active ingredients in antibacterial soaps. It revealed that “the ruling, 40 years in the making, caps a decades-long debate over whether these germ-busting chemicals are safe and offer any advantage over ordinary soap.”

A major portion of the luggage of young parents of infants visiting India for the first time will be various antibacterial  tissues, toiletries, and  hand sanitizers. They may find the new findings and the follow-up action by the US FDA hard to stomach!

The development may not be new to  people who are aware of the history of soap use and personal hygiene. The evolution of Lifebuoy soap described here is an instance in point.

Lever brothers created Lifebuoy soap in 1894. One of the first things  they did was to start using vegetable oils instead of tallow to make soap. According to one source,  most soaps use beef tallow. This source asks us to look at the ingredients in the soap. Beef tallow may take a fancy name sodium tallowate! we got astray. let us go back to the new US-FDA action.

It is worthwhile to read the entire article in the Scientific American to appreciate the value of plain water and ordinary soap in personal hygiene.

The full article may be accessed at:

Use of ordinary soap may prove to be  very inexpensive. It may not make bacteria resistant  to antibiotics is an additional bonus!





About ksparthasarathy

I am a former Secretary of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. I am a former Raja Ramanna Fellow in the Department of Atomic Energy. Free lance journalism is my hobby
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