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March 5, 2004 12:04 PM

Joint Statement: The Soap and Detergent Association and The Cosmetic, Toiletry, & Fragrance Association Respond to Antibacterial Products Research Published in Annals of Internal Medicine

Antibacterial cleaning and personal care products do what they say they do: they kill harmful bacteria. Research on antibacterial products featured in the March 2004 Annals of Internal Medicine focused on diseases caused by viruses, not bacteria.

The research findings in this particular study are not surprising, as none of the antibacterial products tested were designed, formulated or claimed to be effective against viruses.

Depending on their active ingredient(s) and specific formulation, antibacterial personal cleansing products can be effective against bacteria that can cause odor, skin infections, food poisoning, intestinal illnesses and other commonly transmitted diseases. These products are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Household disinfectants and antibacterial household cleaning products - depending on their active ingredients, specific formulation, and use instructions - are designed to kill a wide variety of microorganisms that can live on inanimate surfaces, such as bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli, which cause intestinal illness, and Staphylococcus, which causes skin infections.

In some cases, disinfectant products and certain antibacterial products may be formulated to have efficacy against fungi and viruses. Some examples include the fungus that causes athlete's foot; viruses such as Herpes simplex; Rhinovirus, which is the leading cause of the common cold, and Rotavirus, the major cause of diarrhea in young children. To determine the product that is right for the job, read the label.

In these situations, the organisms and required use conditions are clearly noted on the label. Disinfectants and antibacterial household cleaning products must be registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and carry an EPA registration number on their label.

The Soap and Detergent Association and The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association and their members have a long-standing commitment to promote the appropriate use of antibacterial personal care and household cleaning products.

Through consumer and educator outreach, we will continue to provide this information to ensure these products remain a critical factor in disease prevention and health promotion.

For examples of research showcasing the health benefits of antibacterial personal hygiene and cleaning products and disinfectant products, please contact Brian Sansoni at SDA, 202.662.2517 or via email at bsansoni@cleaning101.com .

Websites for more information - The Soap and Detergent Association: www.cleaning101.com/health

The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association: www.ctfa.org 

You can view more detailed information on the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial products on ACI’s Antibacterial Information page, at www.cleaninginstitute.org/antibacterials