Antibacterial Soap: The good, the bad and the dirty – Nanaimo Chiropractors

Antibacterial soap is everywhere; in grocery stores, in department stores, in businesses. 75% of liquid soaps are now made with antibacterial chemicals. And it’s not just soaps. Tissues are now made with antibiotic properties and children’s toys are impregnated with antibacterials. But do they work? Worse still, can they be harmful?

Do antibacterial soaps actually work?

The short answer: No. There is no evidence to say that using antibacterial soaps are any more effective than regular soaps. It has been shown that washing your hands with water and regular soap removes the same amount of bacteria as anti-bacterial soaps. Who says so? The Canadian Pediatric Society, the Candian Medical Association, the American Medical Association, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and the US FDA all say that antibacterial soaps and washes are no more effective in fighting infection.

Worse still, these soaps can be harmful…

  • Resarch out of the University of Victoria suggests that antibacterial soaps may alter the function of your thyroid gland. Triclosan, the chemical used in antibacterial soaps, gets into our water systems and can harm wildlife. It has been shown to reach concentrations in our waterways strong enough to affect the thyroid function of frogs. This chemical has been building up in the environment and has been found in the umbilical cord of infants and the breastmilk of mothers.
  • Other research suggests that triclosan may react with chlorine in our tapwater to produce chloroform, which the US Environmental Protection Agency lists as a probably carcinogen, or likely to cause cancer.
  • Most seriously, many researchers feel that widespread use of antibiotics in hand soaps will lead to antibiotic resistant bacteria, or superbugs. This has serious implications for the elderly or immunocompromised. The US Center for Disease Control calls the use of Triclosan a cause for concern.

Now for the good news…

Being exposed to bacteria and viruses during childhood years is actually good for the health of your child. Growing up in a germ filled environment actually blosters the immune system:

  • It has been suggested by research that children that grow up in super-clean environments are more likely to develop asthma. Read more here.
  • Similarly, children that are exposed to a dirtier environment are less likely to develop allergies. Read more here.
  • Children that go to daycare or nursery before kindergarden are 36% less likely to develop leukemia. Read more here.
  • Research from Northwestern University has shown that young children that were exposed to animal feces, such as on a farm, have lower adult  levels of C-reactive protein, a key marker of inflammation. This may mean that those individuals are less likely to have the chronic inflammation associated with a number of illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease.

So, get up out of your chair right now and throw out those antibacterial soaps. Go on…. I’ll wait for you.

You’re back? Great. Doesn’t it feel better knowing that you’ve made an informed decision about your health? That you aren’t one of the many people influenced by the fear based marketing ploys? And for goodness sake, keep those soaps and their chemicals away from the developing bodies of children!

I’d love to hear your opinions on this subject. Please leave a comment below.

Yours in Health,
Dr. Jason Hare
Nanaimo Chiropractor

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One Response to “Antibacterial Soap: The good, the bad and the dirty – Nanaimo Chiropractors”

  1. I’m not sure where you are getting your info, but good topic.|I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more.|Thanks for great information I was looking for this information for my mission.