Researchers in Minnesota published a paper that describes their finding of the ingredient triclosan in some of the state's waterways.
The study raised new questions about the use of triclosan which the scientists say has potential toxic effects in the environment when exposed to sunlight.
However, ACI states that the research is in danger of distorting facts about its safety and effectiveness, and that the researchers' publicity efforts promoting their paper - implying safety concerns about triclosan – may be misleading, as the antibacterial agent is one of the most researched and reviewed chemicals used in consumer products.
"We would commend the researchers for being able to find vanishingly low levels of chemicals in the environment, but point out they ignore that there are no negative impacts associated with those trace compounds in the environment," says Dr Paul DeLeo, ACI Senior Director of Environmental Safety.
Antibacterial hand wash products containing triclosan are regulated in the US by the FDA as OTC drug products and provide a key public health benefit by reducing or eliminating pathogenic bacteria on the skin to a significantly greater degree than plain soap and water.
Triclosan and products containing it have been scrutinized by a number of governmental bodies around the world, with a number of studies presented for either side of the argument.
It has a long track record of human and environmental safety which is supported by a multitude of science-based, transparent risk analyses, and currently, the FDA and Health Canada have publicly indicated that that triclosan does not harm human health.
The ACI has also taken umbrage with some reports of the study, and spoken of the damaging and widespread effect this can have.
"We are deeply concerned about the recent proliferation of biased and inaccurate information being reported on triclosan," said Dr DeLeo. "Our overriding concern is the safety of those who use our products. Families can continue to use antibacterial soaps and hygiene products with confidence and use them in everyday situations.”
"These products are safe, effective and they do what they say they do: kill germs that can make us sick."