US washes its hands of 19 antimicrobials

The US Food and Drug Adminstration has moved to end the sale of over-the-counter antibacterial hand and body-washing products over concerns their long-term use encourages the emergence of drug resistant-bacteria.

The products that have been banned contain 19 antimicrobial substances including triclosan.

Studies have shown that triclosan can affect hormone function, damage the liver and kidneys, and is a suspected carcinogen.

Ramon Shaban, president of the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control, says the move will help slow the rate of antimicrobial resistance.

"Reducing the unnecessary use of such agents, in this case in products that are not used in clinical settings, is an important aspect of our collective efforts," Mr