You may have heard lately that anti-bacterial soap is on its way out. Is this a rumor or is it really true? How are anti-bacterial soaps impacting your health and environment and should you get rid of them for good? Read on to find out!
What is in Antibacterial Soap, Anyway?
The active ingredient in most antibacterial soaps, both bar and liquid, is a chemical called triclosan. This is a drug that was used in hospitals settings up until the 1990’s, when soap manufacturers first brought all things antibacterial to the market. This chemical can also be found in wipes, sanitizing hand gels, cutting boards and even mattress pads.
The market for these products is at a bit of a crossroads. The FDA wants them to show that the products are safe and effective or pull them off the shelves by 2016.
Should You Be Using These Products?
You may not want to wait for the FDA’s deadline for this one. First of all, there’s really no evidence that triclosan has any benefits to your health that just regular old soap and water doesn’t already have. Basically, there’s no evidence to show that antibacterial products are better for you or your family than just using soap and water.
There is also some concern that using so many antibacterial products actually helps to create antibiotic-resistant bacteria. You know that overuse of antibiotics leads to “super bugs” that can’t be treated with antibiotics. The jury isn’t in yet on whether or not antibacterial products have this effect, but there is some suspicion that triclosan is not helping in this arena.
Another concern is that these soaps can interfere with the way your body regulates the hormones released by your thyroid. This can lead to problems such as infertility, early puberty, obesity and even cancer.
There’s also the little issue of the environmental impact of these chemicals being flushed down the drain. There have been studies that have found triclosan in streams and other bodies of water and it can be bad because it disrupts algae’s ability to perform photosynthesis, which is bad for the environment.
What Can You Do?
If you want to stop using antibacterial products you have options. First you can find non-antibiotic hand sanitizer that use alcohol to kill bacteria and viruses. You can also wash your hands with soap and water, just make sure you do it long enough to be effective, which is about 30 seconds.
This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.