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Why Are Antibacterial Products So Hard to Avoid?

I’ve tried for years to avoid antibacterial products. They’re just an annoyance to me, as I trust soap and common cleaning to take care of the germs that matter. I don’t need a sterile home.

Heck, if I wanted that I wouldn’t have had kids!

But antibacterial products are all over the place. And there’s an article in Scientific American that my husband pointed out to me that confirms my own feelings on the matter – that antibacterial products are not good to use.

The trouble is that they tend to produce resistant bacteria. That’s always a bad idea.

Triclosan is a common one you should be checking ingredient lists for. Not all products that use it call themselves antibacterial. It hasn’t been shown to be a problem in humans so far, but the potential is there. It may act as an endocrine disrupter in bullfrogs and rats.

Too few bacteria also means that children don’t develop the natural immunities they need for a healthy life.

If you want to check ingredient lists, you will need to check for:

Triclosan; Phenol, 5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)-; Ether, 2′-hydroxy-2,4,4′-trichlorodiphenyl; 5-Chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)phenol; 2,4,4′-Trichloro-2′-hydroxy diphenyl ether

Those are the various names for Triclosan. Not easy to remember with most of them. You can also search the Household Products Database for products that contain it. I have no idea how comprehensive the list is, but I would expect it to be pretty good.

I’ve always noticed it especially hard to avoid antibacterial in liquid soaps. Companies know that labeling a product antibacterial will encourage paranoid parents to buy it so that their little ones don’t get exposed to those vicious germs.

I don’t buy into that idea. I want my kids exposed to germs. I want them to develop natural immunities to them. I want them to play in the dirt. I want them to use plain old soap to get clean after. I want them to know the difference between clean and sterile and which is really necessary.

And I don’t want them constantly exposed to unncessary antibacterial products. Save those for hospitals and places that need to be sterile rather than merely clean.

Technorati Tags: antibacterial products, antibacterial, triclosan, germs, kids, family

One reply

  1. boogiemum says:

    I am not a big antibacterial person myself. I have some friends that wipe down every table we sit and eat at with the stuff. The only time that I am a fanatic on using the stuff is when we are at the pediatrician’s office. It drives me sick watching the kids with pink eye or other bodily fluids playing and dripping all over the office toys. I make my kids lather up after we leave the waiting room and then again after we leave the office. I have tried not letting my kids play with the toys, but that doesn’t go over so well.

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