Business Briefs – September 4, 2016

FDA Bans Antiseptic Chemicals From Soaps; No Proof They Work

WASHINGTON (AP) – The federal government Friday banned more than a dozen chemicals long-used in antibacterial soaps, saying manufacturers failed to show they are safe and kill germs.

“We have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, the Food and Drug Administration’ drug center director, in a statement.

Friday’s decision primarily targets two once-ubiquitous ingredients — triclosan and triclocarban — that some limited research in animals suggests can interfere with hormone levels and spur drug-resistant bacteria.

The 19 banned chemicals have long been under scrutiny, and a cleaning industry spokesman said most companies have already removed them from their soaps and washes.

The FDA said it will allow companies more time to provide data on three additional chemicals, which are used in most antibacterial soaps sold today.

U.S. Factory Orders Up 1.9 Percent In July, Best in 9 Months

WASHINGTON (AP) – Orders to U.S. factories increased in July by the largest amount in nine months, propelled by a big jump in demand for commercial aircraft. The key category that tracks business investment plans posted the best increase since January.

Factory orders rose 1.9 percent in July, the Commerce Department reported Friday. It was the biggest one-month gain since last October and was led by a surge in orders in the volatile category of commercial aircraft. Orders in the category that serves as a proxy for business investment increased 1.5 percent, the best showing since January.

Economists are hoping that after a period of weakness, business investment will begin to rebound in the second half of this year. Supporting that view, demand for oil field equipment rose for a third month.