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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has started a review of the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial products across a range of industries.

The first stage of the process will focus on antibacterial soaps and body washes. Despite some heavy marketing, FDA officials say very little is known about the long-term effects of these products.

In December, the administration gave manufacturers a year to prove their antibacterial soaps and washes are safe for long term daily use, and are more effective than regular soap and water in preventing illness.