What you need to know: The backlash to antibacterial soap

Backlash to antibacterial soapAnti-bacterial soaps may be everywhere now, but that might change in the next few years. Thanks to an FDA ruling last month, manufacturers of anti-bacterial soaps are going to need to support their claims with studies and prove their safety or remove their products from the market. Why the seemingly drastic decision? Because when used over a long period of time, the antimicrobial ingredients in the soaps (like triclosan) could possibly affect hormone levels and lead to drug-resistant infections. (Hand sanitizers won’t need to have the same proof—mostly because the main product in them, ethyl alcohol, is generally seen as safe by the FDA.)

Even without antibacterial soap at home, you can still easily keep yourself clean. Many experts, including University of Michigan’s Allison Aiello, Ph.D., say regular soap and water do as good of a job. As for disinfecting surfaces that touch bacteria-laden things like raw poultry, your normal soapy water used for dishes works just fine (or a bleach/water mixture if you prefer). Not sure where to focus your cleaning power? Check out the 10 germiest spots in your home (warning: the toilet seat isn’t even on the list). One last note: But before going overboard, keep in mind that germs aren’t always a bad thing–exposure to some bacteria can actually strengthen the immune system and help ward off diseases.

 

Photo credit: The Italian voice

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