Are Antibacterial Soaps Healthful or Harmful?

If you use antibacterial soaps, are you doing yourself a favor or doing more harm than good? It is clear that vast amounts of people have become overly obsessed with living germ-free. So rightly so, they're called germophobes - and are prevalent in our fear-driven society today!

hand-washing image Good old regular hand soap may serve you much better and be more effective than any antibacterial product. Think twice before you reach for your next purchase of them. Without exposure, your body cannot build up a resistance to germs or viruses you come in contact with. (Plus, living in a completely germ free world is virtually impossible anyway!)

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Everyone seems to want have jumped on the germless band-wagon however, is all this cleanliness really good for us? Scientist Bill Nye thinks we should avoid them altogether, although people who work in the health care industries may be the only exception to this rule. Hospitals are germ breeding grounds for some really nasty stuff and therefore nurses and doctors are required to use antibacterial products religiously.

For everybody else, antibacterial products started out as a pretty logical idea, but they could also end up to be a huge health care mistake. They may be unintentionally creating germs that are more resistant to antibiotics. In fact, we have reached a tipping point where our antibiotics may not do much of anything to slow the spread of these germs and the diseases they cause.

Scientists, for quite some time, have had a hard time keeping up with the ever-changing strains of bacteria’s produced because of the antibiotic properties found in most all antibacterial products. Bacteria have become resistant to many forms of antibiotics for this very reason.

When they were discovered, antibiotics changed the world. For many years, antibiotic drugs worked so quickly and so effectively that they were touted as a modern day miracle.

Alexander Fleming is generally credited for realizing that Penicillium notatum fungus was inhibiting the growth of bacteria in his lab in 1928. He published his landmark paper in 1929. There must be an evolutionary advantage for fungal organisms that can produce chemicals to inhibit the growth of bacteria. After all, bacteria are always fighting off other bacteria to survive.

After discovering the antibiotic properties of Penicillium fungi, scientists found many ways to brew up other concoctions and compounds very efficiently. This was a modern way of destroying germ cells. People in the developed world don't die of diseases the way they used to.

For example, if you take a walk in an old cemetery, you might notice the large amounts of people who died before they were 10 or 12 years old. Illnesses that were caused by germs were responsible for most of the deaths back then. Antibiotic compounds cured so many people so quickly that for many decades the term 'miracle drug' seemed to be the least we could say about their wonderful properties.

So what does that mean for you and me in simple terms? You may be keeping up with the latest health information and trends and making sure that your family is eating more of the foods that provide nutrition, but using antibacterial soap and cleaning products to protect them from harmful germs may not be that smart.

More than 45 percent of soaps contain antibacterial ingredients on the market today, and the list keeps growing. The more obsessed people are about killing germs, the worse its likely to get. The bad news is that it doesn’t look like the trend will stop anytime soon. Cleaning products, laundry powders, dish soap, trash bags, dusters, and sponges are among the growing list of antibacterial consumer options. Not wasting your hard earned money on these types of non-essential products might be the best decision to make.

Antibacterial Soaps and Your Health

  • Using antibacterial soaps will not make you healthier. Antibacterial products are only effective at killing bacteria on contact and their effects are short-lived. They will not prevent the spread of viral infections, which are responsible for a large percentage of contagious viruses such as the flu.

  • Hand sanitizing gels may be particularly dangerous for youngsters. Alcohol is the main ingredient used in these sanitizers. Because alcohol is highly flammable, it's inadvisable for unsupervised use by young children.

  • Antibacterial products that you use in your home or office 'go somewhere' after they're washed down the drain. The widespread use of these chemicals contributes to their presence in waste-waters and ultimately in the environment around us. The effects of these chemicals on the environment have not yet been determined.

  • Antibacterial products could make any bacteria resistant to antibiotic medications prescribed by your physician. Unlike prescriptive antibiotics, household antibacterial soaps are made from low and unpredictable concentrations of antibiotic-like chemicals.

    When bacteria are exposed to low and infrequent dosages of antibacterial ingredients, they are more likely to form a resistance to regular antibiotics. In fact, antibiotics used in clinical settings to prevent the spread of infections and treat bacterial infections are quickly becoming less effective.

  • Antibacterial soaps give you a false sense of security. You may think that by using antibacterial products that you can eliminate bacteria in your home, but that simply is not true. Bacteria are everywhere, and most bacteria are not harmful in general. Good hand washing practices using warm water and regular soap is still highly effective in removing bacteria.

    Before you purchase your next bar, bottle, or tube of antibacterial soap or gel, you should know that it may do more harm than good. So far, there is little supportive evidence that antibacterial products are effective in preventing illnesses. The antibiotics that are used in cleaning products are basically the same as the drugs your doctor prescribes when you are sick. There are concerns that antibiotics used without a prescription could have serious, dire consequences.

    It is important to note that the use of antibacterial wash products still have an important role in preventing nosocomial infections, which are infections like MERSA that originate in hospitals. However in these areas their use is more carefully monitored and more judiciously applied, or is it? To answer that question, please read this page!

    Always consult your physician before using natural remedies, especially for anyone with preexisting conditions or anyone currently taking prescription medications. Although many efforts are made to ensure that the advice given on this site is professionally sound, the advice is not intended to replace a mutual relationship with a medical provider.

    Related Pages on This Site

    Mercury Toxicity – A Major Contributor to Disease and Autoimmunity

    Heavy Metal Chelation Therapy

    Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth – An Essential Multipurpose Product

    Remedies for Colds, Cough, and Congestion – Simple Solutions for Less Confusion

    Fight the Flu Naturally – Smart Ways to Feel Better Faster!

    Sore Throat Pain Relief – Home Remedies and Concoctions

    Antibacterial Products – Fun Facts and Statistics

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