The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday said that it would not immediately ban the use of chemicals used in antibacterial soaps, despite a US prohibition on 19 such substances, adding that it would discuss the issue with specialists.
The US agency issued the ban on Friday, stipulating that due to insufficient data to prove the 19 ingredients — including the most commonly used, triclosan and triclocarban — are effective at preventing the spread of germs coupled with data suggesting that long-term exposure to the ingredients poses health risks, companies have a year to remove the chemicals from their products or stop selling the products.
“We have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water... In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients might do more harm than good over the long-term,” US Center for Drug Evaluation and Research director Janet Woodcock said in a statement.
Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital nephrologist Yen Tzung-hai (顏宗海) said that “Triclosan an triclocarban can be considered antibiotics... If people wash their hands with hand wash containing the two chemicals all the time, in the long run, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli in the environment can develop resistance to the chemicals.”
He said there is no need to regularly wash with products containing the chemicals, and if the bacteria develop resistance, then people might not respond to drugs if they have an infection.
Division of Medical Devices and Cosmetics section head Hung Kuo-teng (洪國登) said that triclosan and triclocarban are among 21 antibacterial chemicals used in Taiwan, but both are still allowed to be used in hand or body wash in many European countries, as well as in Japan and China.
“The FDA will continue to collect data on the safety of the antibacterial agents and the regulations on them in other countries,” Hung said, adding that the agency would seek opinions from specialists and evaluate the issues before deciding whether the rules need changing.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
People should avoid eating too many zongzi (粽子, glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves), as consuming several in one meal could cause indigestion, bloating, gastric acid reflux, heartburn and other stomach ailments, a doctor said on Saturday. Zongzi is a traditional delicacy for the Dragon Boat Festival, which was on Thursday. Citing a recent case as an example, Cathay General Hospital gastroenterology department head Chu Yu-ming (朱淯銘) said that a 58-year-old taxi driver surnamed Hsiao (蕭) ate meals at irregular hours due to his work and has been taking diabetes medicine for three years. Hsiao recently bought a bag of zongzi and ate
While stereotypically considered a household pest that simply will not die, Hung Ting-yang’s (洪鼎揚) experience with Archimandrita tesselata, commonly called the peppered roach, might change a person’s mind. The peppered roach originates in South America, is omnivorous and, as it is capable of growing to 7cm to 9cm long, is a giant compared with other roaches, which have an average length of about 4cm. The peppered roach goes through six separate chrysalis stages and takes nine months to reach full maturity. Mature roaches have wings, but cannot fly and can only glide. They have an average lifespan of three years. As his
The EU’s list of safe nations to which it would reopen borders next week does not include Taiwan, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said the list has not been finalized and some EU countries have highlighted the importance of “reciprocity.” The provisional list comprises Algeria, Andorra, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and the Vatican, the New York Times reported on Friday. The EU said it would add China, considered one of the “acceptable countries,” if it also opens its borders to EU travelers, the newspaper reported. Backed by