Anti-Bacterial Soaps Worthless?

Amused

Elite Member
Apr 14, 2001
52,548
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Anti-Bacterial Soaps Lacking, Girl Scouts Claim

ST. PAUL (May 2) - Members of Girl Scout Troop 2173 have a message for households: Those anti-bacterial products you use to clean your home aren't all they're cracked up to be. The girls spent two years investigating whether products that claim to be anti-bacterial actually are.

In the end, they concluded household anti-bacterial soap kills 99.6 percent of germs if used long enough - but regular soap kills 99.4 percent of germs.

"People get tricked into thinking it kills all the bacteria," said 11-year-old Emma Burnham, who said that in the mid-1990s, the anti-bacterial products were marketed to parents who wanted to keep their children safer.

The idea for the project came about after Hannah Nesser, now 11, tried using an anti-bacterial soap to clean up spores she cultured for a third-grade science fair. She found that instead of dying, some of the bacteria actually grew.

Nesser and her Girl Scout troop began researching the anti-bacterial cleaners to earn a Bronze Award - the Junior Girl Scout equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

The Girl Scouts say that the household anti-bacterial products are an advertising ploy, and that by not killing all bacteria, could actually create super-germs that will pose a threat to public health. They say they have evidence proving that triclosan, the active agent in most anti-bacterial products, is a potential health hazard.

They met with lawmakers, and Sen. Ellen Anderson, DFL-St. Paul, submitted a bill on the girls' behalf that seeks to ban the anti-bacterial products. The girls were heading to the Capitol on Monday to present their research to the Minnesota Senate Commerce Committee.

"They're very serious about this and they've done their homework better than a lot of lobbyists at the Capitol do," Anderson said, "and I'm serious."

As part of their research, the girls collected water from Lake Como and samples from surfaces in their school that were likely collection points for bacteria.

They used special chemicals to grow the bacteria samples, testing their resistance to different levels of soap containing triclosan.

They also reviewed research from the University of Minnesota and conducted experiments at the Science Museum.

While not expected to pass, their proposed ban would have a tremendous impact on retailers. Triclosan is contained in 75 percent of household gel soaps and in many types of toothpaste, in addition to dish soap and other cleansers.

Scientists already have debated whether triclosan contributes to antibiotic resistance, which is a public health problem because most bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics.

Some studies agree with the scouts, while others defend triclosan, said Pat Cleary, a microbiology professor at the University of Minnesota.

He said a ban on household anti-bacterial products is too extreme, but agreed such products are overused.

Some bacteria actually help keep people healthy and strengthen natural immune systems, he said.

"I would kind of agree with the Girl Scouts," Cleary said. "The idea that you can keep people healthy by keeping people absolutely clean is foolish. It just doesn't work that way."

Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com

 

dullard

Elite Member
May 21, 2001
22,208
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Common sense says they are worthless. Too bad so many people don't have common sense. A good washing will wash the germs away. So who cares if they are dead or not at that point? They aren't on your body anymore no matter what.

The only anti-bacterial soap I will ever buy is for the hand washed dishes. I've found that a sponge will stink horribly within 2-3 washes if I use standard dish soap (impossible to get all the germs out of a sponge that absorbs the germs). But if I use anti-bacterial dish soap the sponge can last months and dozens of washes.
 

Sentinel

Diamond Member
Jun 23, 2000
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this is true, but I have used antibacterial soap when i shower because if i dont then I will have BO...
 

biostud

Lifer
Feb 27, 2003
15,120
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the human body (intestines included) contains more bacterial cells than human cells.
 

PingSpike

Lifer
Feb 25, 2004
21,054
126
106
Why are the girl scouts investigating this anyway? Strikes me as rather odd.
 

Amused

Elite Member
Apr 14, 2001
52,548
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Originally posted by: PingSpike
Why are the girl scouts investigating this anyway? Strikes me as rather odd.
They explain why in the article, silly.

The idea for the project came about after Hannah Nesser, now 11, tried using an anti-bacterial soap to clean up spores she cultured for a third-grade science fair. She found that instead of dying, some of the bacteria actually grew.

Nesser and her Girl Scout troop began researching the anti-bacterial cleaners to earn a Bronze Award - the Junior Girl Scout equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
 

nakedfrog

Lifer
Apr 3, 2001
48,033
1,574
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Is triclosan the same thing they recently announced forms ether and can cause cancer when used in toothpaste?
 

PingSpike

Lifer
Feb 25, 2004
21,054
126
106
Originally posted by: Amused
Originally posted by: PingSpike
Why are the girl scouts investigating this anyway? Strikes me as rather odd.
They explain why in the article, silly.

The idea for the project came about after Hannah Nesser, now 11, tried using an anti-bacterial soap to clean up spores she cultured for a third-grade science fair. She found that instead of dying, some of the bacteria actually grew.

Nesser and her Girl Scout troop began researching the anti-bacterial cleaners to earn a Bronze Award - the Junior Girl Scout equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
Heh. Its a long article about soap and girl scouts, you didn't actually expect me to read it did you? :p
 

nakedfrog

Lifer
Apr 3, 2001
48,033
1,574
126
Originally posted by: Amused
Originally posted by: nakedfrog
Is triclosan the same thing they recently announced forms ether and can cause cancer when used in toothpaste?
Yes, but it's blown WAY out of proportion and there is no valid link between triclosan and cancer. NONE.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory?id=695305
Well yeah, I can't imagine the minute amounts of chlorine and triclosan on a toothbrush would form more than a tiny puff of chloroform, if that.
 

msparish

Senior member
Aug 27, 2003
655
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0
This has been known for quite a while. I remember a doctor friend of mine going off on it one day a few years ago...he can't stand the triclosan stuff.
 

Ilmater

Diamond Member
Jun 13, 2002
7,516
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I did studying on bacterial resistance, and it's quite interesting. It's costs the City of New York tens of millions of dollars. There was an outbreak there of bacteria that was resistant to all kinds of antibiotics, and so they had to develop a new antibiotic to combat it. Many of the patients basically had to wait for other bacteria to kill off the infection before they would be healthy again.

The kicker is, basically every single hand soap is anti-bacterial now.
 

mercanucaribe

Banned
Oct 20, 2004
9,763
0
0
Anyone see the episode of House where he was complaining about this? I thought it was well known though. I don't buy anti bacterial soap or dishwashing stuff. Although.. why does the article talk about soap used to clean your house? As far as I know, no one uses bars of soap to scrub the kitchen counters, and none of those products contain triclosan or any other antibiotic. They use bleach.
 

deejayshakur

Platinum Member
Aug 7, 2000
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i do infectious disease research and we create resistant strains of bacteria in the lab everyday. but we also screen the antimcrobials to fight these bugs.

personally, i carry an alcohol based hand cleanser from bath and body works and use regular bar soap at home. it doesn't help when everybody else is washing triclosan into the sewers and selecting for resistant strains, but i try to tell people around me to stop using those antibacterial soaps. then again, i've got an entire wall cabinent full of nearly every antimicrobial available at work so what do i care.

on my way to work on the train now :D
 

DivideBYZero

Lifer
May 18, 2001
24,118
1
0
Originally posted by: deejayshakur
i do infectious disease research and we create resistant strains of bacteria in the lab everyday. but we also screen the antimcrobials to fight these bugs.

personally, i carry an alcohol based hand cleanser from bath and body works and use regular bar soap at home. it doesn't help when everybody else is washing triclosan into the sewers and selecting for resistant strains, but i try to tell people around me to stop using those antibacterial soaps. then again, i've got an entire wall cabinent full of nearly every antimicrobial available at work so what do i care.

on my way to work on the train now :D
Blackberry?
 

GasX

Lifer
Feb 8, 2001
29,033
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What is really sad is that soap is anti-bacterial all by itself...
 

DivideBYZero

Lifer
May 18, 2001
24,118
1
0
Originally posted by: Mwilding
What is really sad is that soap is anti-bacterial all by itself...
Exactly. 15 seconds or more of mechanical action when washing your hands is at least if not more effective than using these soaps.
 

Gibsons

Lifer
Aug 14, 2001
12,523
29
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Originally posted by: CalvinHobbes
How hot does the water have to be. I hate using really hot water.
Just warm enough for the soap to dissolve easily.

Even surgeons don't use scalding hot water.

 

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