Sunday, March 23, 2014

4 reasons to re-think antimicrobial products

They’re everywhere – handsoaps, lotions, wipes, and dish soap that include anti-microbial products in their ingredients.  Often, we think that if we can just get rid of the various microbes on our skin and kitchen counters, we’ll be healthier.  The opposite may very well be true.  Here are some interesting facts about antibiotic and antimicrobial products:

  1. You’ll never get rid of all the bacteria and fungus, and you don’t want to.  Here’s a great clip from NPR’s Science Friday which explains this concept.
  2. Antibacterial products could lead to antibiotic resistance – the bacteria that can’t fight off the antibacterial products die; the ones with the right genetics just keep on multiplying.
  3. You could be messing with your hormones.  Several studies support the hypothesis that Triclosan, the chemical widely used in antibacterial and antifungal products, can affect thyroid hormone production. 
  4. Antimicrobials may affect agricultural systemsA new study at Duke University reports on a new test for detecting triclosan and other antimicrobials in biosolids which are used to fertilize agricultural fields.  Antimicrobials could kill off beneficial bacteria that help to get nitrogen into the soil.

Turns out, antimicrobial products are often no more effective in cleaning than simple soap and water.  Sure, if you’re going in for surgery you probably want to see those antimicrobials, but for daily life just single “Happy Birthday” and scrub away with regular soap!  Remember, Parsonage Soaps is a great place to get soap! 

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Cherednichenko, G. and R. Zhang, R. Bannister, V. Timofeyev, N. Li, E. Fritsch, W. Feng, G. Barrientos, N. Schebb, B. Hammock, K. Beam,  N. Chiamvimonvat, I. Pessah.  2012.  Triclosan impairs excitation-contraction coupling and Ca 2+ dynamics in striated muscle.  PNAS vol. 109, no. 35, pp. 14158-14163.

Veldhoen, N. and R. Skirrow, H. Osachoff, H. Wigmore, D. Clapson, M. Gunderson, G. Van Aggelen, C. Helbing.  2006.  The bactericidal agent triclosan modulates thyroid hormone-associated gene expression and disrupts postembryonic anuran development.  Aquatic Toxicology, vol. 80, issue 3, pp. 217-227.

Zorrilla, L. and E. Gibson, S. Jeffay, K. Crofton, W. Setzer, R. Cooper, T. Stoker.  2008.  The Effects of Triclosan on Puberty and Thyroid Hormones in Male Wistar Rats.  Toxicological Sciences, vol. 107, issue 1, pp. 56-64.

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