FDA Reviewing Popular Soap Ingredient's Safety

Could triclosan, a popular anti-bacterial chemical, be causing more harm than good?
1:50 | 05/03/13

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Transcript for FDA Reviewing Popular Soap Ingredient's Safety
We have some surprising news about a product millions of us use every day. It turns out that antibacterial soap could do more that were than good. Dr. Richard besser has the story. Reporter: After more than 40 years on the market, the fda says it is still reviewing triclosan, a popular antibacterial chemical found in everything from soap to body washes to toothpaste could be doing you more harm than good. It comes amid growing questions from scientists and consumer groups about the safety of the chemical. After recent animal studies suggested triclosan could increase the risk of hormone problems such as infertility or early puberty. The soap and detergent industry called those overblown. The fact is triclosan is safe as extend tiff track record, human health and environmental safety. Reporter: While the fda says animal studies, quote, don't always predict effects in humans, this morning some consumer advocates are questioning why triclosan is still being used. Especially because the fda says it has no evidence soaps made with triclosan, quote, provide any benefit over washing with regular soap and water. Cut through the debate for us. I'm concerned whenever we're exposed to a chemical where there's no proven benefit. Here it's easy. If your doctor hasn't told you need a special soap, plain old soap and water works great, prevents all kind of infections. Read the label. If it says triclosan, if it says antibacterial, antimicrobial ask for a soap that's just plain soap. Don't take chanthe chance. Is it in all toothpastes. It has been shown to prevent some gum disease but soaps, body washes, no reason to go that way. Thanks so much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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