Why You Should Avoid Anti-Bacterial Products

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According to the Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia, anti-bacterial soaps and cleaners are not necessary, and may even be harmful to your health. Manufacturers and/or advertisers of anti-bacterial products use parent’s fear of germs to sell their creation. They imply that you need anti-bacterial, anti-microbial or disinfectant products like soaps, all-round cleansers, sprays, etc. to create a safe and healthy environment for your child. But according to Guide to Less Toxic Products, this is not true. Similarly, people buy anti-bacterial soaps and cleansers because they believe these products can protect their family from colds and the flu. But there is no truth to this because colds and the flu are viruses, and anti-bacterial products can not affect them in anyway.

There are a number of reasons why anti-bacterial soaps and cleaners are not recommended by experts for home use. Check them out below:

• In addition to being unnecessary, anti-bacterial soaps, cleaners and sprays expose us to harmful chemicals. In anti-bacterial soaps, the most commonly used chemicals are triclosan and chloroxylenol (or PCMX). Experts suspect triclosan to be an immunotoxin and a skin or sense organ toxicant. It is classified as a high volume chemical: over a million pounds are used in the United Sates every year. Triclosan is also a derivative of the herbicide 2,4-D. It creates dioxin, a kind of carcinogen, as a by-product. According to a Swedish study, the human breast milk contains high levels of this bactericide. Chloroxylenol, aside from being a suspected immunotoxin and skin or sense organ toxicant, is also a suspected gastrointestinal or liver toxicant.
• Not all bacteria are hazardous to your health. Some are actually beneficial. The problem with anti-bacterial soaps and cleaners is that they kill beneficial bacteria along with the bad ones. As a result, we become more vulnerable to bad bacteria that we encounter. Young kids especially need to be exposed to some germs and good bacteria to help develop their immune systems.
• Another reason why experts do not recommend using anti-bacterial products is because it makes bacteria hard to kill. Scientists worry that the widespread use of anti-bacterial products contribute to the development of resistant bacteria; bacteria that can only be killed by different or stronger doses of chemicals. This means that when we need to kill harmful bacteria, like strep, staph and e-coli, it will be more difficult. It also means that we will be exposed to increasingly stronger chemicals that are detrimental to our health.

The United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) agrees that anti-bacterial soaps are not necessary. The CDC recommends that the simplest and most effective way for people to reduce the spread of infectious disease is to practice proper hand washing, particularly after using the bath room and before preparing food. Proper hand washing required rubbing hands under running water for 15 seconds. Just like anti-bacterial soaps, cleaning products with added anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and disinfectant ingredients pose the same risks as antibacterial soaps, and are just as unnecessary for normal home use.

Deborah Williams is a child care expert consultant on a non-government organization promoting non-toxic cleaning products and eco friendly cleaning.

BabyGanics is the manufacturer or non toxic cleaning products made with all-natural ingredients for effective and green cleaning.

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