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  • Dr. Megan Westbrook

Antibacterial Soap- Good or Bad?

Let’s face it – you probably have something labeled “antibacterial” somewhere in your home. Whether it be hand soap or surface spray, we’ve all bought something that is supposed to battle those pesky bacteria that are so “terrible” for us and our families. However, there have been numerous claims that show these antibacterial solutions aren’t really that great for us.

First of all, it has been shown that antibacterial soaps are no better than conventional soaps. Countless studies have revealed that these products have no health benefit as opposed to regular soap and water.

Another reason to toss the antibacterial products is that the bugs most people are commonly worried about are the flu and colds. These are viruses and will not be affected by antibacterial products at all.

Lastly, the main antibacterial ingredient in most of these products is triclosan. Triclosan was originally used to clean hospital floors. Some bugs have been shown to adapt to this compound and develop cross-resistance. Basically, it doesn’t even work on some bacteria. Not only does it not work, but it can lead to the “superbugs.” These superbugs develop because of a mutation that occurs to protect itself against triclosan.

Triclosan has also been shown to interfere with hormones in lab animals, contribute to allergy increases, and is known as an environmental pollutant – affecting specific aquatic species. It has been banned by the European Union in all products that come into contact with food and is now being phased out of cosmetics.

In summary, you can see that antibacterial soaps and sprays may not be the best idea for yourself or your kids. Ditch the triclosan-containing products and stick with conventional soap and water to ward off harmful bacteria or choose to use Essential oil Sprays that have natural cleansing properties. (We have these sort of things available at the office)

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