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Study on Positive Effects of Handwashing

Contact: Brian Sansoni, 202-662-2517 (office); via email at

Irene Malbin, CTFA, 202.331.1770, - website:

Joint Statement: The Soap and Detergent Association and The Cosmetic, Toiletry, & Fragrance Association


WASHINGTON, D.C., June 1, 2004 - Two trade associations representing personal care and cleaning product makers hailed the findings of new research demonstrating the powerful effect of washing with soap and water in decreasing illness and improving public health.

A study published in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, found a 50 percent reduction in the incidences of diarrhea among schoolchildren in Pakistan. The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA, and The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association (CTFA,, both based in Washington, D.C., said the study's findings reaffirmed what generations have known all along: good hygiene equals public health.

The associations, however, cautioned against reading too much into one aspect of the study's data, comparing the effectiveness of antibacterial and non-antibacterial soaps. "This is not a basis for drawing conclusions on the relative effectiveness of these products, and further research will be necessary to evaluate the issue," according to SDA and CTFA.

"What we do know, based on years of safe and effective use, is that antibacterial personal care products (such as bar soaps) provide an extra measure of protection for consumers at home and doctors and nurses in hospitals seeking to prevent the spread of germs. These products, depending upon their formulation and application, can kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause odor, skin infections, food poisoning, intestinal illnesses or other commonly transmitted diseases.

"The simplest defense against disease is prevention and the first defense is always good hygiene. Antimicrobial products have been shown to be an essential part of a good hygiene routine."

For more information on about antibacterial products, go to

Additional weblinks: Associated Press/ coverage, "Soap A Key to Fighting Disease"