Antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers can be found everywhere, from our doctors’ offices to our classrooms. In the home, 75 percent of liquid soaps contain antibacterial compounds. Physicians and marketing geniuses promise us that these products will keep us safe from harmful germs, but do they actually harm us instead? hand sanitizer dangers
As it turns out, antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers now pose a real danger to our health – not only because these products contain toxic, hormone-disrupting ingredients, but also because their constant use has made bacteria resistant to their antibacterial properties. Much like the overprescription of antibiotics in pediatric and general medicine, which has led to antibacterial resistance, antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers have also essentially lost their power.
One study even calls into question the marketing promise of soaps that contain triclosan, a toxic ingredient that is sold as more effective against germs than plain soap. And yet, soaps containing triclosan were essentially no more effective than plain soap at preventing infectious illnesses or reducing bacteria levels on the hands. antibacterial soap dangers
In fact, a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee found that antibacterial soaps offer no additional benefits over plain soap and water. And several studies have now shown laboratory evidence of triclosan-adapted cross-resistance with antibiotics among multiple species of bacteria. hand sanitizer dangers
A new fear is that the overuse of these soaps (and hand sanitizers) will render many antibiotics useless. In other words, if you suddenly develop a horrible infection that requires a dose of antibiotics, the medicine may not be able to treat or control the infection. The more we use antibiotics, the more bacteria develop resistance to them. Antibiotics should only be used in dire circumstances; they were not designed to be used several times a day.
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Hand Sanitizer Dangers: Is Your Antibacterial Soap Making You Sick?
According to a 2012 report from the World Health Organization and the United Nations Environment Program, breast, ovarian, prostate, and testicular cancer rates have all increased over the past 50 years. Incidentally, triclosan (and triclocarban) are both endocrine disruptors that have been linked to cancer in multiple studies. Companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Avon have all vowed to remove triclosan from their products. Meanwhile, many European countries have already banned it, as has the state of Minnesota. antibacterial soap dangers
Although the FDA has recently claimed that they still don’t believe triclosan and triclocarban are unsafe for humans, it has given companies until 2016 to prove that these ingredients are safe. If they cannot, the products will be pulled from the shelves. hand sanitizer dangers
As for how these ingredients could be affecting children, the increase in low birth-weight babies, early breast development in girls, and undescended testicles in boys might well be linked to endocrine-disrupting chemicals like triclosan and triclocarban, the report says. antibacterial soap dangers
Children are using these products multiple times a day at home, at school, and before meals. Many parents even send a bottle to school in their child’s backpack. And unlike regular soap, whose ingredients wash off and do not get absorbed into the skin, the chemicals in hand sanitizers fully absorb into the skin and bloodstream. hand sanitizer dangers
(Editor-In-Chief’s note: Not to mention, these soaps leave your hands feeling like you have crocodile skin. You know when you wash your hands on a plane and they feel so dry that it’s just icky and unbearable? Well, you can thank antibacterial soaps that are synergizing with the lack of fresh oxygen on the plane.) antibacterial soap dangers
Science and medical experts agree that we should worry about our constant, daily exposure to the endocrine-disrupting chemicals in antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers: “What I would be concerned about is the amount people are exposed to over time,” says Rochester University Medical Center Professor Emeritus William Bowen, who specializes in oral biology and also served on an FDA subcommittee that evaluated triclosan in the 1990s.
The best way to avoid antibacterial soap dangers is to switch to a liquid or bar soap that doesn’t contain them. Read labels and do some research on the Skin Deep Database produced by the Environmental Working Group (a nonprofit advocacy organization). hand sanitizer dangers
And the best way to avoid hand sanitizer dangers is to choose soaps, cleaners, and body washes that are made of coconut oil, other plant-based ingredients, and are preferably all-natural. hand sanitizer dangers
Marni Ayers, is a writer, editor, and mother. She frequently writes about eco-conscious living and is the founder of LusciousPlanet.com. Marni is also an award-winning playwright. Her plays have been produced in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and other cities across the United States. She lives in Santa Monica, California, with her husband and two daughters.
hand sanitizer dangers
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