|Brand irrelevant, for image purposes only. Source: Genuine500|
Thankfully, action has already begun on some of these chemicals. In September 2016, the USA's Food and Drug Administration issued a final rule banning nineteen chemicals in over-the-counter, consumer antiseptic products. Manufacturers were not able to prove that these were safe, or more effective than plain, old-fashioned soap and water. Two of these were triclosan, the aforementioned thyroid hormone disrupter, and triclocarban. This ruling only affects those products that are meant to be used with water, and rinsed off after use, not products meant for use in a healthcare setting, or commercial hand sanitisers or wipes. One reason behind the ban is the hormone-disrupting effects of these chemicals. Three more chemicals have had their ruling deferred for another year, as manufacturers attempt to prove safety and efficacy. Unfortunately, as this only applies to consumer products, it does not provide any protection to those at risk of cancers caused by occupational exposure, but it could prevent disease in some people who would otherwise develop cancers or hormone problems from home use. While this is progress, it looks like more work needs to be done in order to prevent cancers and other diseases.