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The Boston Globe

Business

Decades-old question: Is antibacterial soap safe?

WASHINGTON — It is a chemical that has been in US households for more than 40 years, used in things like body wash and the baby’s basinet.

But federal regulators are just now deciding whether triclosan — the germ-killing ingredient found in an estimated 75 percent of antibacterial liquid soaps and body washes sold in the United States — is ineffective, or worse, harmful.

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