Poll: Americans Oppose Efforts to Limit Access to Antibacterial Soaps 83% Want to the Right to Choose Germ-Killing Products

Washington, January 18, 2011 – A new poll finds that the vast majority of Americans uses antibacterial soap and finds it to be a useful tool to prevent the spread of germs. And two-thirds of Americans would be “angry” at any government attempts to ban the products.

The poll, released by the American Cleaning Institute and the Personal Care Products Council, reports that 83% of consumers should have the choice as to whether or not to purchase these products.

The survey, conducted by Fabrizio, Ward and Associates, was released as special interest groups called for the U.S. government to ban the use of antibacterial agents in personal care products, in spite of overwhelming science demonstrating their safety and effectiveness against fighting germs.

Among the key findings of the poll:

  • Nearly three-quarters of American consumers (74%) use antibacterial soap (56% use it regularly), finding it a very useful tool to prevent the spread of germs at home, in health care settings, schools, restaurants, child care centers, and public restrooms
  • 75% of moms with children in the household would be “angry” if the government took antibacterial soap off the market
  • Overall, two-thirds of consumers would be upset if the government took antibacterial soap off the market
  • 84% of adults do not have any health or environmental concerns about antibacterial soap
  • By an eight-to-one margin, consumers would rather have the choice to buy antibacterial soap over removing it from the market based on alleged health and environment concerns
  • “This poll demonstrates that American consumers want access to soaps that are proven to eliminate germs and help fight infections,” said Brian Sansoni, spokesman for the American Cleaning Institute. “Consumers understand that these products have been used safely and effectively for decades.”
  • “Antibacterial ingredients have been reviewed, regulated and researched by agencies around the world for more than 40 years,” he said. “They are globally accepted as safe for daily use and are scientifically proven germ killers that help to reduce the chance of infection. Every day, doctors and hospitals use these products to help prevent the spread of germs to patients and hospital staff.”
  • The poll results show that consumers also find antibacterial soaps useful for a variety of in-home uses, including normal hand washing after using the bathroom, prior to meal preparation, after diaper changing and when caring for sick family members.
  • “The survey shows that American consumers want access to the same germ fighting products that are used safely every day in countless doctors’ offices and hospital settings,” Sansoni added. “Consumers can continue to use these products safely and effectively with great confidence.”
  • The survey results are available on the website of the American Cleaning Institute at www.cleaninginstitute.org.
  • The poll, completed by the Fabrizio, Ward and Associates, sampled 1,000 adult Americans (age 18+) that were interviewed by telephone from December 5-12, 2010. The error margin for this random probability sample is ±3.1% at the 95% confidence level. That is to say, if this survey were replicated, the aggregate results would be within this margin in 19 out of 20 cases. Interviews were conducted with respondents using both landline (N=700) and mobile (N=300) telephones. Survey data was weighted by demographics to match most recent U.S. Census American Community Survey results for age within gender, race/ethnicity, educational attainment, and region.