So, who else spends the extra money to purchase antibacterial soap for the health and safety of their families? I assume all hands are raised. What if I told you that there is no "anti" in the bacteria of antibacterial soap? Let's take a step back and analyze the word, antibacterial. By definition, antibacterial means, "destructive to or inhibiting the growth of bacteria." (Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary)
So far, this definition is synonymous with the popular belief of the word, hence why many consumers opt to purchase; however, this is not the case.
In a recent study, bacteria was placed in 2 separate petri dishes - regular soap was placed in one and antibacterial soap in the other. The bacteria was exposed to both soaps in typical washing conditions for 20 seconds at 22 degrees Celcius (room temperature) and 40 degrees Fahrenheit (warm water). The results were alarming, to say the least! “Antibacterial soap containing triclosan (0.3 percent) was no more effective than plain soap at reducing bacterial contamination when used under 'real-life' conditions.” (Mercola 2015)
The potency of the antibacterial soap was only revealed after the bacteria was soaked in the bacteria for nine hours! Yes, nine whole hours! Well, that was a complete waste of money.
On top of the inefficiency of antibacterial soap, the solution, triclosan , that is used to give it the "antibacterial" component could possibly be harmful to our health. Animal studies have shown triclosan to cause hormone effects as well as endocrine disruption. It has also shown to be a linked to the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and some cancers. Triclosan is also known to be linked to:
* Abnormalities with the endocrine system, particularly with thyroid hormone signaling
* Weakening of the immune system
* Birth defects
* Uncontrolled cell growth
* Unhealthy weight loss (Kim 2006)
Triclosan is not only found in soaps, but also in detergents, body wash, toothpaste, cutting boards, etc. Here is a list of products containing triclosan.
The most effective way for hand washing is to:
Use warm, running water, and a mild soap (avoid antibacterial soap)
Work up a good lather, all the way up to your wrists, and scrubbing for at least 15 or 20 seconds (as long as it takes to sing "Happy Birthday to You") most people only wash for about 6 seconds
Make sure you cover all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers, and around and below your fingernails
Rinse thoroughly under running water
In public places, use a paper towel to open the door as a protection from germs that the handles may harbor (Mercola 2015)
Here's a quick video you and the entire family or office can watch to learn about the proper techniques of hand washing.
Kim, D. (2006, November 09). Products That Contain Triclosan. Retrieved July 03, 2016, from http://drbenkim.com/articles/triclosan-products.htm
Mercola, D. (2015, September 29). Which One Works Better: Antibacterial Soap or Plain Soap? Retrieved July 03, 2016, from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/09/29/antibacterial- soap.aspx?utm_source=twitter.com
(n.d.). Retrieved July 03, 2016, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/antibacterial