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January 2, 1943


Author Affiliations


From the United States Food and Drug Administration.

JAMA. 1943;121(1):25-27. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840010027005

The discovery or development of the "ideal" antiseptic is an objective much sought by research workers in the fields of bacteriology, chemotherapeutics and preventive medicine. Although this objective obviously has not yet been attained, it is apparent that diligent search continues for a chemical compound which has the characteristics of an ideal antiseptic, namely high germicidal or inhibitory properties, no tissue toxicity or at most a very low toxicity, freedom from specificity, efficiency in the presence of organic matter, power to penetrate, stability and perhaps other characteristics, including low cost. Efforts to produce useful, if not ideal, antiseptics have resulted in offering to the medical profession and to the public a wide variety of chemical substances, including mercurials, phenolic compounds, silver preparations, products of the liquor antisepticus type, dyes, halogen compounds and many others with staggering organic chemical designations. Most of these preparations are offered for general antiseptic purposes, although