Thursday, February 3, 2011

DO NOT Use Antibacterial Soap, Rinse, Repeat

Do not use antibacterial soap.
Do not use antibacterial soap.
Do not use antibacterial soap.

Sure, writing it once would have sufficed, but there are three major reasons to not use antibacterial soap. Any of the three alone would be enough to stop using it, but the triptych should make us run for the hills.

Reason #1: Antibacterial soap, according to a study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, is “no more effective than plain soap at preventing infectious illness symptoms and reducing bacterial levels on the hands.”

Reason #2: Triclosan, the main chemical in the majority of antibacterial soaps, may actually be weakening our defenses by helping to create even stronger bacteria. (This is similar to how small doses of antibiotics administered to our livestock are linked to the development of bacteria resistant to our current roster of antibiotics.)

Reason #3: Triclosan, according to Karl Tupper, Staff Scientist at the Pesticide Action Network, gets “washed down the drain [and] ultimately ends up in sewage sludge, which is then spread on farm fields as fertilizer.” This wouldn’t be so bad for our food and for us, Tupper says, if triclosan wasn’t “an endocrine disruptor that affects thyroid function, sperm production and the immune system.” Oh, and it also affects fetal development.

Thankfully, the EPA is now reviewing a public petition to remove triclosan from consumer products.

Click here to send an email to the EPA demanding the end of triclosan. While we wait for the EPA’s decision, we should all replace our antibacterial soap with regular soap and tell our friends to do the same.

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