Shedding Light on Antibacterial Soap

Posted by Brialle Veldman on January 3, 2017 under Conferences/News | Be the First to Comment

From a social and environmental standpoint, there has been some recent hype on the use of antibacterial soap for washing hands to prevent illnesses in the past couple of years. Whether you are feeling chipper or under the weather, it is always a good practice to wash your hands. There are many of us who purchase products with labels such as “99.99% effective in reducing airborne bacteria” or anything with “antibacterial” listed on there with the idea that we are preventing illness. As a marketing strategy to fool society, they are manipulating the public’s perception that we are “clean” when in fact, this is not the case. “I suspect there are a lot of consumers who assume that by using an antibacterial soap product, they are protecting themselves from illness, protecting their families,” Sandra Kweder, deputy director of the FDA’s drug center, told the AP. “But we don’t have any evidence that that is really the case over conventional soap and water.” In fact, about 75% of liquid antibacterial soaps and 30% of bars use a chemical called triclosan as an active ingredient. When you spray your countertop or surface with your general household cleaner it will leave a residual of active compounds that target bacteria- but it will not oxidize them. The main ingredient in many solutions that have an antibacterial agent is called triclosan. Triclosan, is an antibacterial and antifungal agent found in many consumer products such as detergents, toothpaste, and toys. With the widespread use, the soap industry expanded to nearly $1 billion dollars in the 1990s. In 1972, triclosan was introduced to the market and used strictly in health care facilities. Presently, several products such as wipes, mattress pads, cosmetics, and cutting boards have triclosan in it. This particular chemical has been the focus of a reform managed by an alliance of health and environmental groups. Studies display that triclosan has been increasingly linked to a wide range of health issues. There are five main reasons you should not use antibacterial soap with triclosan as an active ingredient. First, antibiotic-resistant bacteria is produced from antibacterial soap. Secondly, it does not produce any more benefits than conventional soap. Third, Triclosan can act as an endocrine disruptor, especially thyroid hormone. Fourth, some allergies such as hay fever and peanut allergies have been linked to prolong use from antibacterial soap. Last but not least, antibacterial soap harms the environment. Triclosan can disrupt algae’s ability to perform photosynthesis. In 2009, dolphins in the east coast were found to have high levels in their blood. As an act to regulate, Minnesota has become the first state to ban common germ-killer triclosan in soap. “Triclosan has been banned from consumer personal care cleaning products in the state of Minnesota by an act of the state legislature.” This will take an effect on January 1, 2017. Alternatives like a non-antibiotic hand sanitizer can be exercised in this fashion, yet the best idea for this is benefiting from the rewards of ozone. With ozone, it will attract to the single bacterium, virus, mold or cyst by changing its molecular shape and eventually revert back to oxygen, leaving no harmful by-products.
Stromberg, Joseph. “Five Reasons Why You Should Probably Stop Using Antibacterial Soap.” Smithsonian.com. Smithsonian Institution, 3 Jan. 2014. Web. 03 Jan. 2017.

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