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“Antibacterial Soaps Fail To Kill Germs”

We are told that the best deterrent to germs and infections is frequent hand washing with an antibacterial soap.  But, is that true?  Actually, many people have become compulsive hand washers.  According to the American Cleaning Institute and the industry-run Personal Care Products Council, 74% of Americans use antibacterial soap.  Antibacterial soap manufacturers have been suggesting the products are necessary to fight germs and insinuating they are superior to plain soap and water in keeping away illness.  Experts say, “Triclosan (the most widely used antiseptic agent in soap), has been one of the commonest ingredients in antibacterial soaps, which are used by millions of people and generate $1 billion in sales annually in the United States alone.”  However, studies have linked it to antibiotic resistance and hormone problems, prompting a safety review by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that may yet lead to restrictions.  Also, triclosan is harmful to the environment, but 84% of US adults said they have no health or environmental concerns about antibacterial soap. Surprisingly, a study in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy reports that when it comes to normal hand-washing, there is “no significant difference” between the bactericidal effects of plain soap and antibacterial soap.

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