The Dangers of Anti-bacterial Products

The Dangers of Anti-bacterial Products

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  1. America is obsessed with being clean.  Somehow people have it in their minds that any possible exposure to a germ or dirt is bad and we must scrub and clean and sanitize everything that might cross our paths.  Have we forgotten that ‘dirt’ is good and fertile and where we grow our food?  Have we forgotten that we must be exposed to germs in order to build our immune systems so that our bodies fight infection, and that getting the occasional cold is actually healthy? 

    The problem with all this obsessive cleanliness is that we are killing good bacteria and creating anti-biotic resistant bacteria that while normally wouldn’t be harmful but are now dangerous to many people including children or people with compromised immune systems because they cannot be treated with normal antibiotics.  Most bacteria people encounter in a regular day aren’t overly harmful, and your body will easily fight them off.  Perhaps you get a little cold, but with each little cold your immune system gets stronger.

    Antibacterial products were designed for hospitals and medical situations where they are actually necessary, yet we now have more than 700 anti-bacterial products on the market for everyday use.  One trip to the star can yield antibacterial soap, lotion, cosmetics, toys, kitchenware, window cleaner and even chopsticks!  These products are not without consequence.

    And it’s all due to one little chemical called Triclosan that is added to just about anything labeled ‘anti-bacterial’.  It has been linked to a variety of health problems including allergies and skin irritation.  Over-cleaning our bodies and environments does not allow the immune system to create the antibodies it needs to fight infections and allergies.  Therefore there are higher numbers of people with allergies and asthma, especially children.

    Antibacterial products are completely unnecessary if you are trying to keep yourself clean.  In fact, good old soap and water works perfectly fine.  Make sure to read products and purchase soaps and other products that do not contain triclosan.  It can be difficult, but they do exist.  Some soap products are even sporting a triclosan-free label.  I am the first to admit that I use hand sanitizer sometimes instead of washing the hands of one of my three kids in a public place.  But some public restrooms are even too gross for me, and I’m one of those Moms who usually doesn’t think it’s necessary to always clean the pacifier if it’s dropped on the floor.   I do stock my house with as many ANTI-anti-bacterial products (triclosan-free!) products as I can find, and I don’t clean obsessively.  Stay away from it, and you’ll actually be healthier in the long run.

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