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Supermarkets to remove triclosan from soaps

Supermarket giants Woolworths and ALDI will remove the "harmful" chemical triclosan from their home brand antibacterial soaps sold in Australia after it was banned in the US.

The US Food and Drug Adminstration in September banned the sale of over-the-counter antibacterial hand and body-wash products containing triclosan, an antibacterial and antifungal agent, and 18 other chemicals over concerns their long-term use encourages drug resistant-bacteria.

Australian manufacturers are now following the US lead, despite triclosan still being legal in Australia.

The FDA said there was not enough evidence to show these products were better than ordinary soap and water and could be doing "more harm than good".

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

It's now hoped most antibacterial soap products sold in Australia will be triclosan-free by the end of next year.

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