When Joseph Lister popularized the use of antiseptic in hospitals in the late 18th century, he drastically brought down the mortality rate of patients who had just undergone surgery. He revolutionized the surgical practice by using carbolic acid as an antiseptic agent. Soon enough the use of antiseptic in hospitals became a vitality. While the use of antiseptics in hospitals and healthcare industries is indispensable, it may not be as helpful as we think it is in our daily lives.
FDA Regulation Status
We use antibacterial wipes, sanitizers, disinfectants and soaps lavishly without considering its effects in the long run. The main components in all of the above products for a long time have been triclosan and triclocarban which were found to have negative effects when used for extended periods of time. The FDA on 2nd September 2016 issued a rule establishing that companies were no longer allowed to market over the counter products that contained these ingredients. Many big brands like Avon, Proctor and Gamble, and Bath and Body Works have stopped using the chemical since but the rule does not apply to consumer sanitizers and wipes. Nowadays, carrying cute miniature sanitizer bottles have become trendy and people have begun using it excessively. Triclosan is even used in non FDA-regulated products like clothing, kitchenware, furniture and toys.
“Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). “In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term.”
The Effects Of Triclosan And Triclocarban On Our Lives
Some studies have shown that triclosan and triclocarban may kill weak bacteria but may cause increased resistance among stronger varieties of bacteria. Apart from this, experiments conducted of female rats have shown that these chemicals cause hormonal changes in women. It has been found that it increases the potency of the thyroid hormone. The chemical has also been detected in human breast milk, blood and urine samples. Its impact on our environment is tremendous as well.
What Can You Do?
If you are concerned that you no longer have a defense against those bacteria out to get you, it turns out using regular soap is just as effective in terms of fighting bacterial infection. Just be sure to wash your hands well – this includes the back of your hands and under and around your nails! It also helps to use warm water instead of regular water. If you feel like you have exposed yourself to infection and when there’s no water around, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) recommends you use an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least sixty percent alcohol. Also, if you think being a germophobe is going to help you stay healthy you might want to re-evaluate your stance. The skin secretes natural protective oils and is the first layer of contact with any external bacterial invaders. By overexposing it with antibacterials, we are eventually making it extremely sensitive and vulnerable to attack.
Natural And Organic Alternatives At Home
Lastly, we might want to consider switching to natural alternatives while cleaning our homes. Using harsh chemical disinfectants in our homes is not going to help reduce the chances of infection. We are in fact making ourselves more susceptible to risk. By switching over to natural alternatives like vinegar, we could reduce a lot of potential risk. Vinegar is rich in bio-active compounds like acetic acid and acts as an antimicrobial agent. If you’re not too keen on this cleaning method, just be sure to check your cleaning products and make sure they are as organic as possible.