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WASHINGTON - The following is a joint statement from the Soap and Detergent Association and The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association:
"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
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
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,
contact Brian Sansoni at SDA, (202) 662.2517 or via email at
CTFA is the national trade association representing the cosmetic, toiletry
and fragrance industry. Founded in 1894, CTFA has an active membership of
approximately 300 companies that manufacture or distribute the vast majority
of finished personal care products marketed in the United States. CTFA also
includes approximately 300 associate member companies, including manufacturers
of raw materials, trade and consumer magazines, and other related industries.
The Soap and Detergent Association is the non-profit trade association
representing manufacturers of household, industrial and institutional cleaning
products; their ingredients; and finished packaging; and oleochemical
producers. SDA members produce more than 90 percent of the cleaning products marketed
in the U.S.
Source: Soap and Detergent Association