Antibacterial Products – Not Effective, Not Safe
by Guest Blogger Melissa Makris, How to Boost Your Immune System
Most people blindly believe that antibacterial products will help them stay well. So they buy products like liquid hand soap, hand sanitizers, household cleaners and other consumer goods to keep themselves and their homes “germ-free.”
However, even the people who are the most obsessive about using these products end up getting sick anyway. How can that be?
To put it simply, there is absolutely no evidence that antibacterial products kill germs better than regular soap. Lots of studies have been done too, so don’t think that these companies haven’t tried! But, we as consumers buy lots of products that don’t live up to their claims. No harm except a little lost money, right?
Triclosan, the main antibacterial agent found in these kinds of products, is actually a danger to our health and the environment.
So much so that even the American Medical Association (AMA) has expressed strong concerns over antibacterial products, saying “it may be prudent to avoid the use of antimicrobial agents in consumer products” (Tan 2002).
So what is so bad about triclosan?
There are several reasons to be more than just concerned.
Use of these products is creating bacterial resistance. Think about what happens when you wash your hands with an antibacterial soap. It goes down the drain and becomes very dilute. These are just the kinds of conditions necessary for harmful bacteria to develop immunity, predisposing them to resistance against therapeutic antibiotics.
Triclosan at face value is also toxic to people. This chemical gets trapped in our bodies and ends up in our fatty tissues. Extensive lab studies have linked triclosan to cancer, liver toxicity, hormone disturbances, and birth defects. If that’s not enough, it also combines with chlorine in public tap water to create small amounts of chloroform gas!
Triclosan is also incredibly toxic to the environment. It is already polluting many bodies of water through waste water contamination. Animals, like humans, are affected even at low levels of exposure and suffer the same effects that we do.
But avoiding products that contain triclosan is not as easy as you might think. It was introduced for use in products back in 1995 and has spread rapidly since then. It now can be found in many hand soaps, body washes, dish soaps, laundry detergents, shampoos, toothpastes, and lots of household cleaning products.
And you can’t just look at the ingredients and see triclosan on the label. Why? It’s partially because of the blatant misinformation campaign by companies that sell these products – and partially because of the FDA’s inability to do its job.
Several ways to drastically reduce your exposure to this chemical:
First, avoid any products with the following claims: kills bacteria, fights germs, odor-fighting, keeps food fresher longer, or protects against mold and mildew. Those are all key phrases that mean that triclosan is in the product.
Second, use all natural personal products and household cleansers. There are many safe products out there that that do a great job at keeping ourselves and our homes clean and fresh.
And don’t be afraid of germs. Being exposed to them on a regular basis helps keep our immune systems strong. For natural ways to beat those germs when you do run into them, feel free to visit my site.
Melissa Makris is a scientist with a technical background in immunology and is passionate about holistic and alternative methods of healing. Her website How to Boost Your Immune System shares information on how to boost immune system health using simple, natural methods.
This post is part of the Natural Cures Tuesday blog carnival. You can join our carnival! Submit your related blog posts by email to kim.hartke at gmail.com.