Every other soap or hand wash available in the market, targets the consumers by emphasizing on its anti bacterial quality. Bacteria are the culprits that cause several diseases and infection. Sadly, these microscopic bacteria are present all around us. The easiest way to get rid of these bacteria is to maintain hygiene and so far, it was believed that antibacterial soap and hand wash effectively shield us against these bacteria.
As per the review conducted by Rolf Halden, who is a director of the Center for Environmental Security at Arizona State University, in last two decades, the use of antimicrobial ingredients triclosan (liquid soaps) and triclocarban (bar soaps) in different products including soaps, hand wash, detergents, toothpastes, wipes and pacifier, has increased rapidly.
However, according to latest research, antibacterial soaps are not as effective as they claim to be, because of the fact that people are not aware of using them properly to maximize its effects. Generally people using these products at home are not washing their hands long enough and hence, antibacterial soap could not do its work and proves to be ineffective or of little significance.
On the other hand, antibacterial products in hospitals or other health care centers are apt in killing microorganisms. But as per Halden, the same soap when used by the general population, gives no better results than regular soaps. The antibacterial soaps are effective in killing microbes because people in hospitals wash their hands for nearly 20 to 30 seconds, while other people hardly wash their hands for more than 6 seconds.
Other studies also suggest that over the time these microbes get used to these chemicals and become resistant to the antibiotic ingredients making difficult for doctors to cure infections. Halden also says that studies conducted on animals shows that frequent exposure to these chemicals can affect body hormones.
Nearly three quarters of the American population has noticeable levels of triclosan, found in urine. Therefore, a check on these chemicals is essential for prohibiting the mindless usage of such antimicrobial products. The Food and Drug Administration asked the companies to prove that the chemical used in manufacturing antimicrobial products (especially personal care products), are safe and effective, or else they will have to completely eliminate the use of such chemicals.
The FDA regulation will be helpful in maintaining the effectiveness of clinically vital antibiotics. This will also prevent over exposure of people to chemicals that are endocrine disrupting and possibly unsafe chemicals. Such step will also inhibit the release and growth of antimicrobials in the environment.
Next time you buy an antimicrobial product, make sure you know how to use it effectively and do not forget washing your hand with water and a regular soap is equally good. Also, carry an alcohol based hand sanitizer that can be used in places where water and soap is not available.