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February 1975

Hexachlorophene— Not a Cry of "Wolf"

Author Affiliations

Department of Dermatology, University of Miami, Miami, Fla.

Arch Dermatol. 1975;111(2):250-251. doi:10.1001/archderm.1975.01630140108014

While talking with a group of dermatologists recently, I was surprised to learn that very few believed that hexachlorophene was a dangerous substance. Since the available data against hexachlorophene's safety seemed quite substantial to me, I pondered how this disbelief by knowledgeable and critical men had come to pass. After speaking with several of them individually, I reached the conclusion that the key to the skepticism rested on the fact that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had played such an important role in the saga. Events such as the FDA's dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) fiasco have been compounded by the current mind-boggling debacle banning the inclusion of neomycin in a widely distributed standardized patch test tray. These and other episodes have greatly injured the credibility of an agency that is constantly under the dissecting microscope of the nation's medical scientists. Perhaps understandably, dermatologists have become like the villagers in Aesop's

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