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Am J Infect Control. 2001 Oct;29(5):281-3.

National and regional assessment of the antibacterial soap market: a step toward determining the impact of prevalent antibacterial soaps.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA 02215, USA.



Consumer antibacterial soaps contain triclosan or triclocarban. No scientific data have been published to suggest that the use of antibacterial agents in household products prevents infection, and triclosan resistance mechanisms have recently been identified. Little data are available regarding the prevalence of antibacterial agents contained in consumer soaps.


In a physician-performed survey of 23 stores in 10 states from December 1999 to April 2000, investigators determined the number of national brand liquid and bar soaps and percent of each containing antibacterial agents sold at national chain, regional grocery, and Internet stores.


Antibacterial agents were present in 76% of liquid soaps and 29% of bar soaps available nationally. There were no differences found between national, regional, and Internet stores.


Overall, 45% of surveyed soaps contain antibacterial agents. With limited documented benefits and experimental laboratory evidence suggesting possible adverse effects on the emergence of antimicrobial resistance, consumer antibacterial use of this magnitude should be questioned.

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