A Cost-Benefit Analysis:According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there’s no evidence that antibacterial soaps prevent disease better than regular soaps. In fact, the risks of using antibacterial soap are might be very high. A study done by the University of Birmingham found several strains of bacteria that mutated to resist common antibiotics. From there, they discovered that these strains of bacteria are also resistant to triclosan. With this discovery, there are now concerns that the process could also happen in reverse. exposure to triclosan (in antibiotic soap) could cause bacteria to be resistant to antibiotics, we’d have a huge problem on our hands. Although this reversal has not been confirmed, it is still something to consider.
Better ways to deal with bacteria:Nevertheless, antibacterial soap just isn’t necessary. Dr. Peter Wenger, an associate professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey even says that “very thorough hand-washing… is the most effective way to get rid of bacteria”. Furthermore, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that the biggest reason diseases spread between people is not because of the soaps that they use, but because people aren’t washing their hands well enough! The average person only washes their hands for five seconds and this isn’t nearly enough time to kill bacteria. So as flu season is upon us, here’s your friendly reminder to wash your hand well with soap, whether it be antibacterial or not.
Until next time,