Well, according to a new report from the FDA, it appears that we've been duped. The agency went on the attack against antibacterial soaps yesterday, stating that there is no evidence that antibacterial cleansers are any better at preventing illness than regular ol' soap and water. And then, they went even further: a new proposed rule would require manufacturers to not only guarantee that using antibacterial products on a regular basis is perfectly safe, but also provide proof that those products are more effective than regular soap.
The move doesn't come as a complete surprise. Many experts have been warning for years that regular use of antibacterial products (read: hand sanitizer) could contribute to the emergence of new antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. And, if you needed another reason to put down that bottle, the FDA pointed out the potential risk of hormonal imbalance caused by triclosan and triclocarbon, common ingredients in antibacterial products that may be toxic, as well. Maybe we'll just stick to that whole "plain soap and water" thing.