FGCU professor among scientists warning of antimicrobial dangers

Reporter: Lindsey Sablan
Published: Updated:
Dr. Daniel Paull

FORT MYERS, Fla. Something you use to keep yourself healthy might be making you sick.

A Florida Gulf Coast University professor is one of 200 scientists seeking to more oversight and transparency on the use of two antimicrobial chemicals — triclosan and triclocarban.

Antimicrobials are commonly found in handsoaps, but a Federal Drug Administration ban on the use of triclosan and triclocarban in soaps went into effect Sept. 6.

A litany of products, from staplers to kitchen countertops to carpets, also contain antimicrobials. But it’s not always clear which antimicrobials are being used on those products.

The banned chemicals pose a public health risk because they make the human body resistant to some medicines, said Dr. Daniel Paull, an assistant professor of chemistry at FGCU.

“When a bacteria is resistant to these specific compounds, it actually makes them more resistant to antibiotics,” Paull said.

Without effective antibiotics, bacteria pose a much greater risk. Paull and other scientists signed a public statement warning about the dangers.

Trade groups that use antimicrobials say manufacturers started phasing out triclosan before the ban, and that other antibacterial ingredients are safe and effective. A statement from Brian Sansoni, a vice president for the American Cleaning Institute, is below:

First off, manufacturers of antibacterial soaps began phasing out use of triclosan and triclocarban over the past few years, even before the September 2016 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule that addressed their used in consumer antibacterial soaps.
Manufacturers are using other antibacterial ingredients while submitting updated scientific data on the ingredients’ safety and efficacy, as requested by FDA.
Every day, antibacterial soaps are used in homes, hospitals, healthcare settings, offices, schools, child care centers and many other commercial settings to help protect against the spread of infectious disease.
Consumers can continue to use these products with confidence. They are safe and effective, and the claims that they are contributing to antibiotic resistance do not reflect decades of real-world use in healthcare, commercial and consumer settings.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.