Monday, October 20, 2008

Should antibacterial soap be outlawed?

Have you caught any of the buzz about antibacterial hand soaps? These sort of health articles always interest me. Our daughter, Hannah, suffered with childhood cancer and is a survivor. I adopted many healthier habits during that time and have continued them. One of the things that has ALWAYS bothered me though, is the use of chemicals in hair and body products: soaps, lotions, shampoos, etc... I am NOT a germ-a-phobe by any stretch of the imagination. But I do like to wash my hands a lot to prevent illness. We are with people a lot and do a lot of hand shaking. I find that hand washing is one of the best ways to stay healthy. But they say you're not supposed to put anything on your skin that you can't eat. Well... I'd like to say I go that far, but the truth is I honestly can't afford to buy all natural everything. It's a bit pricier than the store brand. But I can still cut WAY back on the amount that I purchase. One of those I'm going to cut off is antibacterial hand soap.

ANTIBACTERIAL SOAP -VS- REGULAR SOAPSometimes plain old soap and other tried-and-true cleaning agents can work just as well as today's antibacterial products. Good, old-fashioned soap may not say "antibacterial" on its label, but it still kills germs. Sometimes it does a better job than antibacterial soap.

In addition, soap isn't the only thing that kills bacteria -- there are many naturally occurring antibacterial agents. Lemon juice, for example, changes the pH level in bacterial cells, creating an acidic environment in which microbes can't survive. Other naturally antibacterial substances dry cells out, killing the bacteria (bacteria most commonly thrive in moist environments). Still others, like bleach and alcohol completely obliterate the cells of the bacteria. Unlike the targeted attack of antimicrobial agents, bleach and alcohol simply cause the cells to lyse, or rupture.

Why haven't bacteria adapted to the agents found in bleach, alcohol and lemon juice? The reason why bacteria aren't resistant to these agents is because they do not leave a residue. There is no chance for surviving bacteria to adapt within the residual environment, so bacteria are just as susceptible to bleach and alcohol as they were 100 years ago. Skip the antimicrobial smart bomb and go for the big bleach blockbuster.

To read the full article concerning this health issue, go to: Should Antibacterial soap be outlawed?

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