You're Using Antibacterial Soap Wrong
And its chemicals may be bad for you and the environment
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2014 6:05 PM CDT
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Big on antibacterial soap? Sorry, but it's probably not helping you, and could even be altering your hormones and damaging the environment, a researcher says. In a new review paper, Rolf Halden argues that people get little benefit from antibacterial products because they use them incorrectly, LiveScience reports. You're supposed to wash with them for 20 to 30 seconds, but studies say people use them for an average of six seconds. Worse, microbes are adapting to antibacterial chemicals, which could heighten their resistance to antibiotics. And animal studies say the chemicals may even affect body hormones.

Two key chemicals—triclosan and triclocarban—are used in more than 2,000 antibacterial products, including detergents, paints, clothing, plastics, and even pacifiers, says Halden. In December, the FDA decided that manufacturers have a year to prove that those products are safe or remove the chemicals altogether, Red Orbit reports. Dubbed TCC and TCS, the chemicals account for 60% of all drugs in wastewater treatment plant sludge and don't easily degrade. Due to sludge sewage disposal, some 435,000 pounds of the chemicals end up on US agricultural land each year. (For another possible health hazard, read about peeing in the pool.)

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Showing 3 of 31 comments
TwoSheds
Apr 7, 2014 9:12 PM CDT
But the TV commercial said it was good
BrushMan
Apr 7, 2014 11:02 AM CDT
When you use antibacterial soap, you are killing an incredible symbiotic colony of microscopic organisms. Like dropping agent orange on a rain forest. We are host to ten times as many "foreign" cells than cells with our own DNA. And we depend on them to remain healthy. Thwarting mother nature is unwise and unhealthy.
Barbara Kemp
Apr 7, 2014 10:17 AM CDT
HOW IN THE HELL DID ANY OF US GROW UP WITHOUT ALL THIS ANTI CRAP. KNOW WONDER KIDS ARE SO SICK TODAY. FROM THE MOMENT THEY ARE BORN, IT IS ANTI THIS AND ANTI THAT. LET THE KID BE A KID, 1/3 DIRT AND A FEW BUGS SEEMS TO HAVE RAISE MY GENERATION WITHOUT HEALTH ISSUES. NOW FOR DECADES PEOPLE ARE GETTING MORE CANCER TODAY THEN EVER BEFORE, WONDER WHY. PEOPLE SEEM TO ALWAYS BE SICK TODAY THEN EVER BEFORE WONDER WHY. LOOK AT ALL THE CRAP YOU ARE USING AROUND THE HOME, ON THE KID, IN THE KID AND YOU DONT THINK IN A FEW DECADES THAT IS GOING TO MAKE A CRAP LOAD OF HEALTH ISSUES THINK AGAIN. WHEN IS THE AMERICA PEOPLE GOING TO FIGURE OUT IT IS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. PEOPLE DIE, IF EVERYONE STAYED ALIVE WE WOULD NEED 10 MORE EARTH'S TO LIVE ON. MY GOSH, ALL THAT EQUIPMENT FOR A NEW BORN ALONE IS WORTH WAY MORE SOMETIMES THEN A COLLEGE DEGREE. HOW IN THE HELL DID THE PASS GENERATIONS GET RAISED WITHOUT ALL THAT CRAP NOT TO MENTION ALL THE ANTI CRAP. WHY IS IT THE POOR KIDS ARE NOT AS SICK AS THE RICH KIDS. THE REASON NO ONE DOES A STUDY TO PROVE THAT IS BECAUSE THE RICH WOULD STOP BUYING ALL OF THE CRAP. AGAIN ALL ABOUT THE MONEY PEOPLE. WAKE UP! YES I TYPE IN CAPS, GET OVER IT, OR DON'T READ IT. IF I WANT TO SCREAM I WOULD TYPE IN RED YOU IDIOTS THAT COMPLAIN ABOUT MY CAPS. I DON'T CARE, I LIKE TYPING IN CAPS AND IT YOU DONT LIKE IT DON'T READ IT. SEEMS THAT 90% OF THE PEOPLE LIKE MY COMMENTS AND THEY ACTUALLY LEARN SOMETHING AND THE OTHER 10% ARE IDIOTS AND COMPLAINT ABOUT MY CAPS. HUUUMMMMM WONDER WHICH % YOUR IN?