The Toxic Waste of Antibacterial Soaps

Recent studies indicate that antiseptic ingredients added to soaps are not only ineffective, they may actually be harmful.

A 2005 U.S. FDA panel reported that there is "no added benefit" from using antimicrobial products as opposed to plain soap and water.

In addition, researchers have determined that about 75 percent of a popular antimicrobial, triclocarban (TCC), resists water treatments meant to break it down and ends up in surface water and in municipal sludge used as fertilizer. TCC is known to cause cancer and reproductive problems.

Releasing antimicrobials into the environment in this manner also has the potential to increase the resistance of pathogens to clinical antibiotics. Triclosan, for example, is known to promote the growth of resistant bacteria.

Since the year 2000, about 1,500 new antibacterial products have been marketed to consumers.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

I've warned newsletter readers in the past about triclosan, a synthetic chemical used since the '60s in soaps, dishwashing liquids, detergents and toothpaste that eventually creates antibiotic-resistant germs.

Recently, I ran a story showing that they are really unnecessary as one of the best preventatives to keep your immune system strong against colds and the flu is simply:

Washing your hands with plain old inexpensive soap and water.

Antibacterial soap filled with synthetic compounds that can harm you and our environment are completely unnecessary. Simple soap is more than sufficient to kill bacteria and viruses.

Studies have shown that people who use antibacterial soaps and cleansers develop cough, runny nose, sore throat, fever, vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms just as often as people who use products that do not contain antibacterial ingredients. In other words, they don't work.

In addition, increasing numbers of traditional medical experts now accept the hygiene hypothesis -- the idea that children exposed to bacteria in early childhood actually have stronger immune systems. Children who are not exposed to common bacteria, which are eliminated by excessive use of soap, may actually be more prone to allergies and asthma.

Even the American Medical Association (AMA) does not recommend antibacterial soaps.

It used to be that antibacterial soaps were used mainly in clinical health care environments, like scrubbing up prior to surgery. Now, antibacterial soaps are used in households across the country where they amount to a $16-billion-a-year industry.

Some 72 percent of all liquid soap sold in the United States now contains antibacterial ingredients. Manufacturers have relied on using fear to convince people that they need to use them to stay healthy.

In addition to washing your hands with plain soap and water, keep your immune system strong by making smart choices regarding:

You'll be far less likely to ever worry about being sick again!

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