According to an announcement from the American Cleaning Institute, antibacterial ingredients are materials that kill or inhibit a broad range of bacteria. They are an important ingredient in many hand hygiene products that provides an extra measure of protection for both consumers at home and doctors and nurses in hospitals seeking to prevent the spread of germs.

Depending on the formulation, hand hygiene products with antibacterial ingredients kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause skin infections, intestinal illnesses or other commonly transmitted diseases. These include potentially fatal illnesses caused by bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli. These products are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as Over-the-Counter (OTC) drugs and have to be shown to be safe and effective for their intended use.

Although there have been dissenting opinions about the safety of antibacterial ingredients, the American Cleaning Institute® reports that this issue has been assessed by a number of authoritative bodies. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel has conducted safety assessments of the most frequently used antibacterial ingredients used in personal care products, and have found them to be safe. In addition, the FDA has considered the safety of antibacterial ingredients as they are used in foods, drugs, cosmetics and other products that they regulate, and has found no reason to dissuade consumers from using these products.

You may have read some articles claiming that these products might result in antibiotic resistance. To date, however, there is no convincing evidence that products containing antibacterial ingredients cause increased resistance to antibiotics. Moreover, other jurisdictions, such as the European Union, Japan and Canada, have assessed the safety of antibacterial ingredients and found no basis for consumers to stop using products containing these ingredients.

For detailed information on the safety and benefits of antibacterial products, visit