Using antibacterial soaps: Benefit or Harm?
While useful in healthcare settings is undisputed benefits for users of antibacterial personal care products are almost nil . However, this widespread use , it is caused widespread contamination of the environment , wildlife and human populations.
In the past two decades , the number of products that contain triclosan and triclocarban as an antimicrobial ingredient has increased rapidly (over 2,000 products in 2014 ) , as published researcher Rolf Halden , director of the Center for Environmental Security, University state of Arizona. These products include soaps , detergents , clothing , toothpaste and even pacifiers says Halden.
As a result , many people are exposed to these chemicals : about three-quarters of Americans have detectable levels of urinary triclosan , Halden added .
Antibacterial products have proven effective in killing microorganisms in hospitals and other health facilities and toothpaste triclosan may help people with gingivitis, says Halden. But there is little evidence that these products are better than regular soap for the population in general, Halden says.
Different studies suggest that microorganisms can adapt to these chemicals, and this adaptation can increase their resistance to antibiotics used to treat infections. Some animal studies suggest that chemicals affect hormones .
The regulation of these chemicals could be crucial in preventing the indiscriminate use of antimicrobials. In fact, late last year, the FDA said it should be removed from any personal care products antibacterial chemical, unless the firms can demonstrate that these chemicals are safe and effective .
' If you want to know more you can read the article: On the Need and Regulating Speed of Triclosan and Triclocarban in the United States . In which the author presents a time line with scientific evidence and regulatory actions in the U.S. in relation to persistent polychlorinated biocides, showing a potential path to sensible and sustainable uses of synthetic antimicrobials, including the design of greener and safer alternatives for the next generation .
Image By Ben Mills (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons