ANSWERS: 9
  • If you are an adult, obviously not. Antibacterial soap is not harmful to a child, but there are reasons not to use it routinely. Here is why: Our immune systems develop from interaction with bacteria. Think of the chicken pox. You would not be immune to it if you did not experience it as a child when your immune system was developing, hence it is good to expose a young child to chicken pox (the younger, the better). All bacteria works in the same way; your child will develope a stronger immune system if he or she is exposed to more bacteria.
  • It can be harmful if used too often, like as a substitute to normal bar soap or body washes which mainly wash away dead skin, oil, sweat and dirt build up. Not only does antibacterial soap wipe out the above and bad bacteria, but it also wipes out bacteria that your body is used to having around, like the little ones that live off of consuming dead skin cells. If we don't have these bacterias/germs on our body then the dead skin flakes can build up and even get into little cuts that we may have and this can lead to fungal infections. Any way, antibacterial soap is great to use on new cuts, new piercings, hands that have just been exposed to raw meat, urine, fecal matter, ect. to remove the potentially harmful bacteria that you just came into contact with, but it should be used sparingly and should not be substituted for regular soap or body wash for regular bathing.
  • Some interesting research has been done regarding how effective antibacterial soap is in reducing microbes...more on that later.... I have a great detailed report here for those interested. One thing is for certain: the body can absorb chemicals through the skin. Witness the medical "patches" for hormones or nicotine. Chemicals can accumulate within the body and gradually or suddenly lead to different breakdowns in body functions. Different bodies have different tolerances. Tolerances may vary depending upon age, diet, body type, chemical accumulations, affected health, etc. The body certainly is affected adversely by chemicals on the skin in some way. This can easily be seen with comparisons of ailments and cancers from countries who rely more on commercial chemical condiments or methods against those countries which do not. For example, countries which have lots of different synthetic chemicals prolific within their culture (cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, cleaning products, adulterated foodstuffs, herbicides and pesticides, etc., etc.) have many more odd ailments and medical problems and cancers than the countries which use more natural products and foodstuffs. It is ironic that there is all this major attention on the cost of healthcare in the U.S., when the major culprit is the dramatic invasion of toxins along with depletion of natural nutrients throughout the society. Ha! It is as if the general populace doesn't believe it unless it becomes headline news for weeks and weeks on end. Some parts of the body have a thicker skin than other parts. Hands or the soles of the feet tend to be thicker. Typically, it is more difficult for these areas to absorb chemicals into the body, whereas the thinner areas are more prone to absorption into the body. Regardless, the skin absorbs chemicals. An example is that people use creams or oils to soften the skin. Some individuals who are alert to chemicals can actually "taste" the chemical which is placed on the skin. It is unpleasant to be alert to the tastes of some compounds on the skin, so we often "shut out" that sense. You can even conduct your own experiment to test the validity of skin absorption by placing garlic in your socks and later sensing the taste in your mouth. Often antibacterial soap has a "skin softener" or lotion, fragrance, and chemicals designed to kill microbes. The question becomes "does the body's absorption of the chemical which is designed to kill microbes adversely affect the body?" Probably. I doubt if anyone would see any immediate effects, but over the course of time and continued use, a person's body would be more susceptible to a variety of different ailments. If the soap contains any type of solvent or solvents used in processing, the liver starts to have some weird things occur. This is often followed by other organs or parts of the body having difficulties, especially if other toxins reside in these locations. Then a person becomes more prone to any number of ailments or medical conditions. These medical conditions often are the same afflictions and complaints which are most prolific in our society today. Here is just one example. SLS or Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is a common ingredient found in cosmetics and soaps and toothpaste and shaving cream. It is a surfactant and helps foaming actions. However, it is used as an industrial grade degreaser and detergent, like cleaning oil off garage floors. It adversely affects the eyes, and attacks proteins in the eyes. Ever wonder why you see some dogs start to go blind early? This substance readily penetrates the skin and builds up in a variety of organs such as the liver, heart, lungs, brain. It is a mutagen and can change genetic material found in cells. In toothpaste, it does not rinse out properly and even after 8 rinses residues are found which can lead to mouth ulcers and gum afflictions. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate reacts with other chemicals and compounds the harm to the body. It even is used intentionally by labs to cause skin irritations. And this substance is common in many soaps. Often chemical agents used to kill microbes are actually poisonous to take internally. In other words, here is a harsh chemical which is designed to "kill microbes" on contact...permeating the skin...residues accumulating in the body.... It is amazing to observe how "clinging" these soaps are. A person can very thoroughly rinse their hands and still smell the fragrance. Of course, the general populace often assumes that because it is allowed on the market and "everybody uses it" and there are no immediate body convulsions, that the product is safe enough to use. Here is an excerpt from the website: http://www.beyondpesticides.org/photostories/index.htm entitled “The Ubiquitous Triclosan: A common antibacterial agent exposed". Triclosan is found in hundreds of common everyday products, including nearly half of all commercial soaps. It is used so frequently that triclosan has made its way into the human body—a Swedish study found triclosan in human breast milk in three out of five women. Numerous studies have found that triclosan promotes the emergence of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. There is good evidence that with the continued widespread use of triclosan, antibiotic resistance will become increasingly problematic. Dioxin, a highly carcinogenic, endocrine disrupting compound, may be formed during the manufacturing process of triclosan, and thus is a likely contaminant. More alarmingly, researchers found that when sunlight is shined on triclosan in water and on fabric, a portion of triclosan is transformed into dioxin. Because of its ubiquitous nature, the conversion to dioxin is of major concern. Triclosan is one of the most frequently detected compounds in rivers, streams, and other bodies of water, often in high concentrations. Triclosan is highly toxic to a number of different types of algae. Since algae are the primary producers in many aquatic ecosystems, high levels of triclosan may have destructive effects on aquatic ecosystems. I know...it gets complex with all the chemical jargon. Basically, a person puts a poison on their skin when they wash with an antibacterial soap. The poison absorbs into the body. Some is eliminated and some circulates repeatedly residing in fatty tissues and causes damage to body parts and functions. Even breathing the poisons of the soap can cause long-term problems. There are some good points made on some other answers about some of the benefits of microbes. There is a lot of interaction between other living organisms and the human body which assists the body to remain healthy. If a person sterilized their lawn, they would end up with a bunch of bare dirt. The body has some similar aspects and does not operate well as a sterile mechanism. Form4242 has a comment which has validity. Some research tests were done measuring intentionally imposed high bacteria counts on hands before and after using certain disinfectants compared to just plain soap and water. Plain soap and water won out. It gets the germs off...(they are washed-off and removed) ...and there is no "lotion" residue which would cling microbes to the skin. These disinfectant wipes that you see marketed were not near as effective as soap and water. It seems so common sense to just take off the bacteria by washing and rinsing as opposed to treating the hands with chemicals (and creams to counter the chemicals) and the harmful plasticizers of the perfumed scents (phthalates). [Phthalates are a class of chemicals that are widely used in consumer products to soften plastics, as solvents, and as carriers for fragrances. They are most commonly found in soft vinyl plastic toys, in medical tubing and fluid bags, and in a variety of cosmetics. The developing fetus and infant appear to be particularly sensitive to the effects of phthalates. Certain phthalates have been shown to cause a wide range of adverse effects in laboratory animals, including reproductive and developmental harm, organ damage, immune suppression, endocrine disruption, and cancer.] Here we have yet another marketing ploy duping the broad public into having false ideas about a product...just like the loads of false information about the health benefits of soy by the soy industry...or the relatively harmless effects of herbicides by chemical companies...or the incredibly sick alterations of fact by the psychiatric and drug industries over their "mentally healing drugs". The PR/media marketing targeting the middle-class conceptions, financed by an industry along with its "checkbook" medical research, has duped the general public into many false considerations about products and medications and what is really going on behind the scenes in government and business or vested interests. Here is a tidbit of added data: Triclosan is a chemical that's been used since the 1960s because of its antibacterial properties. It's an active ingredient in many household products: Detergents, Dishwashing liquids, Soaps, Deodorants, Cosmetics, Lotions, Anti-microbial creams, Toothpastes, Body washes. It's also added to plastics, polymers and textiles to give them antibacterial properties. A little-known fact about triclosan: When this chemical comes in contact with your skin, it stays there for many hours. It doesn't rinse off. Triclosan is a type of chlorophenol. Chemicals containing chlorophenol are known as powerful pesticides, which means they are very good at killing things like insects and small rodents. That's why triclosan is added to antibacterial soap, detergents and other products: To kill any bacteria they come in contact with. Unfortunately, common sense tells you, when you add chemicals designed to kill things to consumer products, you are going to have trouble. And in fact, many consumers complain about skin rashes and other irritations when using products containing chlorophenols. Chlorophenols are linked to cancers too. It's also believed small amounts of dioxins and dibenzofurans (very toxic substances) can be created when triclosan is manufactured. If these harmful substances are created, they are also added along with triclosan to all those consumer products I listed earlier. In fact, triclosan has also been found in mother's breast milk, likely the result of extensive exposure to products containing it. A study by the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University showed that washing dishes by hand and using an antibacterial dishwashing liquid soap, has unintended consequences. Specifically, the chemical triclosan contained in the soap was found to interact with chlorinated water to produce significant amounts of chloroform. Chloroform is part of a family of four disinfection byproducts known as Trihalomethanes (TTHMs). When water companies add chlorine to water -- to kill or prevent bacteria from growing in it -- TTHMs interact with organic matter in their distribution system to cause disinfection byproducts. Typically, TTHMs enter your body thru inhalation. So if you are washing dishes by hand, you are naturally inhaling water vapors that carry TTHMs. This study found the amount of chloroform in water increased significantly when it came in contact with antibacterial soap containing Triclosan. You can extend this study's data to apply to toothpaste. Avoid soaps, toothpaste, etc. with man-made additives, such as triclosan, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, DEA (diethanolomine), Isopropyl Alcohol, artificial fragrances, FD&C Colors (colors approved for food, drugs and cosmetics) and Propylene Glycol. Ha!! Ha!! Bob has got some weird mental stuff going on...he keeps trying to downgrade my answers. And nobel prize winning scientists on cancer...Bob!!...they are not scientific? Read about cancer.
  • Antibacterial ingredients have become so prevalent in the United States that there are now antibacterial soaps, laundry detergents, shampoos, toothpastes, body washes, dish soaps and many household cleaning products. Consumers use these products because they have been marketed as an effective and necessary way to lower the risk of infection. However, many scientists fear that the widespread use could lead to a strain of resistant bacteria, or "superbugs," and cause the ingredients to lose effectiveness for the times when they really are needed. The first major test in people's homes has found that using antibacterial products apparently offers little protection against the most common germs. The study represents the first time scientists have attempted to evaluate the products under real-life, day-to-day conditions in homes. In the study, published in the March 2, 2004 journal Annals of Internal Medicine, people who used antibacterial soaps and cleansers developed cough, runny nose, sore throat, fever, vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms just as often as people who used products that did not contain antibacterial ingredients. The researchers pointed out that most of the symptoms experienced by the study participants are typically caused by viruses, which the antibacterial soaps don’t protect against. And for the symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, which may be caused by bacteria, the people who used regular soaps had no greater risk than those who used antibacterial products. Further, many traditional medical circles now accept the hygiene hypothesis, which centers on the idea that children need to be exposed to some bacteria in early childhood in order to strengthen their immune systems. Children who are not exposed to common bacteria, which are wiped out by antibacterial soap, may be more prone to allergies and asthma. Note: Washing with plain soap and hot water will get rid of most all bacteria. http://www.mercola.com/2004/mar/20/antibacterial_soaps.htm For a really good article check out: http://www.colorado.edu/PWR/occasions/soap.html
  • New research does suggest that Triclosan, an ingredient in some toothpastes and antibacterial soaps, might be harmful since it can interact with chlorine in tap water to become chloroform. How harmful is it in those amounts? The jury's still out, so to speak. However, it's worth considering. Triclosan is listed on ingredients lists of soaps and toothpaste (no list probably means no Triclosan). There's some info on the following site: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6448213/did/7602104 Also, a search of triclosan+chloroform brings up plenty of news articles and other pages.
  • Antibacterial soap became popular in the 1990s, and many saw it as a way to avoid getting sick. With greater usage, scientists and medical practitioners began to question the benefits of using antibacterial soap, especially since it is now often added not only to hand soap, but to detergents, and other products. One clear understanding is that antibacterial soap will not keep one from getting ill. Though antibacterial soap does kill most bacteria, it is ineffective against viruses. Washing the hands can cut down on viral spread, but if a child spends a day in a classroom with another child with a cold, even handwashing may not be enough, since many rhinoviruses are inhaled. However, handwashing is especially important in cutting down on the spread of most viral stomach ailments, which are usually spread through improper toileting hygiene. Children and adults should always wash their hands prior to eating, and especially after using the bathroom. Bacteria does indeed cause many stomach ailments, and most people believe that only antibacterial soap can protect them against these germs. In most cases, this is not true. Good handwashing practices with warm soap and water kills most bacteria. One concern about long-term use of antibacterial soap is that it may produce bacteria that are resistant to certain antibacterials. A stronger bacterium means the potential for making people sicker in the future, and having fewer cures to offer them. By using antibacterial soap, we may actually be contributing to a future of having to fight more resistant bacteria. Another concern with antibacterial soap is that one of its main ingredients, triclosan, is now showing up in our water supply. Its presence has also been detected in human breast milk, and in oceans. This means we are all ingesting triclosan, with unknown future ramifications. So far scientists have not found a way to rid water sources of triclosan contamination. While antibacterial soap in the home might cause a bit of extra protection against common household bacteria, it is not clear how much triclosan might ultimately affect bacteria in the wild, or in our bodies. Bacteria are a necessary part of every ecosystem. We have fantastic bacteria in our guts and on our skin that often kill fungus and actually make us function better. Large scale elimination of bacteria in the environment through triclosan could have ultimately devastating effects, and is more concerning since we cannot seem to get rid of it. Lastly, many in the medical profession believe that young children need exposure to “normal” bacteria to build resistance against stronger bacterial. By having our children use antibacterial soap, we may in fact be contributing to future health problems for our kids. Thus, antibacterial soap, though it seemed like such a good idea, may in fact be harmful in the long run. Many hospitals are now switching back to using regular soap, and are saving antibacterial soap for direct exposure to certain very harmful bacteria. Many medical experts now advise that people make the switch at home as well, to avoid unpredictable, and possibly damaging future consequences.
  • Triclosan, widely used as an antibacterial ingredient in household hand sterilization products, breaks down rapidly when exposed to chlorinated water and produces toxic chemicals including chloroform, according to a study published on the Environmental Science & Technology research website As Soon As Publishable (ASAP), suggesting that many antibacterial products may not only be ineffective, but harmful
  • Overall yes, it increases bacterial resistance causing more potent strains. One example is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which is an extremely lethal 'superbug' that lives in hospitals. The generation of bacteria is so short that they are able to run through many generations very quickly compared to our time-reference frame (30 years or so). In those 30 years, thousands of generations of bacteria have evolved, altered their DNA and adapted. MRSA, as I will call it, is caused by overuse of strong antiseptics in hospitals. If you get it, you're usually dead within 24-48 hours, and the only antidote is typically vancomycin administered intra-aortally (think about that, an IV drip into your heart's main artery); and it often causes severe reactions and permanent deafness. The Russians during the Soviet era developed Bacteriophage technology to a much greater degree than we did. A macro/bacteriophage is a designer virus that eats only a particular strain of bacterium, and then self destructs or is killed by the body's lymphatic system. They literally have hooks that rip the wall of the bacterium open and tear up the DNA. Amazing stuff but obviously not something to toy with. So I went way beyond the question, I'm sorry: Don't use antibacterial soap, it weakens your immune system. Live normally, wash your hands with good old soap liberally, and don't lick pay phones. We do have one thing on our side.. bleach, or chlorine specifically. It has, does and always will kill any living tissue.
  • Triclosan, widely used as an antibacterial ingredient in household hand sterilization products, breaks down rapidly when exposed to chlorinated water and produces toxic chemicals including chloroform, according to a study published on the Environmental Science & Technology research website As Soon As Publishable (ASAP), suggesting that many antibacterial products may not only be ineffective, but harmful

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