We have not used antibacterial soaps in our house for years, yet no bugs have come along to kill us yet. The fact is is that the increased usage of antibacterial everything is actually going to make us sicker in the long run. From Mother Jones magazine (one of our favorites), I wanted to share a few facts about our “war on germs”:
- In 1993 there were only a few dozen antibacterial products. Today there are more than 9,000.
- In 2005, an FDA advisory panel concluded that antibacterial soap is no better than regular soap for preventing infection.
- Triclosan, the active ingredient in many antimicrobial soaps, has been detected in women’s breast milk and 58% of US waterways. (I wrote about the dangers of Tricolsan before.)
- A 2007 study found that adults who regularly use household cleaning sprays are 30-50% more likely to develop asthma.
- In 1974, 2% of staph infections were resistant to antibiotics; today, more than 60% are.
We are actually doing way more harm than good by coating our lives with antibacterials sprays, lotions, soaps and gels. In doing this so much, we are creating superbugs that will adapt and become immune to our products…which in turn could make us all very, very sick. Also, all these antibacterial products end up in septic tanks and sewage treatment plants, where they kill off the good microbes needed to digest our waste. We need germs in order to survive as a species! So next time you reach for the antibacterial stuff at the store, think twice – and realize that regular old soap cleans just as well without doing anything harmful to our germs or our environment.