Antibacterial Soaps, Too Anal About Cleanliness For Our Own Good?


Stressful When That White Coat Goes On

As a pharmacist, I really enjoy some of the questions that I have to respond to from the public at large. Some want to test me to see if I know my stuff. Others claim they have experts on staff in healthcare like Ellen, Dr. Oz or Oprah that always have the right answers.

I remember a busy day in the pharmacy and a woman was asking to see me for a consultation. She wanted some important information about antibacterial hand sanitizers. She asked, “what was the best one?” I looked at her, smiled and said, “soap and water, but if you really get stuck, just use water”. She looked at me disgustedly and said, “your wrong sir. I just wanted to know if there was anything stronger and better than Purell?”


Simple Solution Is Best

I left the pharmacy and walked her down to the health and beauty aid aisle. I asked her, “did you ever see a soap molecule?” She smiled shaking her head no. “Well it’s like a sperm with a head and a tail. The tail of the soap attaches to anything on your skin and pulls it off. It could be bacteria, virus, fungus, etc. The head hooks up with the water and pulls the tail down with it exiting the sink. No, it doesn’t kill anything but the real point is getting the bad guys off your skin. Purell (active ingredient is triclosan) will only kill bacteria not virus. Soap and water will take everything and anything off your skin. Remember to wash for at least 15 seconds. Even with no soap, just the very act of using the friction of rubbing your hands together under running water will make most bacteria get washed away. Soap just makes that process even more effective. Stay away from products that contain triclosan like Purell. “ She just smiled at me as I walked back to the pharmacy. I always wondered if she bought the Purell anyway.

One of the most popular antibacterial sanitizer chemicals of the last 50 years is triclosan. The first use was as a hospital surgical scrub in the early 60’s.


FDA Still Reviewing Its Safety, Since 1978

It induces resistance in organisms. This means that bacteria will send genetic helper information to other bacteria to allow them to resist being killed by triclosan. Many hospitals have stopped using this antibacterial agent. The American Medical Association requested the FDA to ban it over a decade ago. Many manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive have reformulated their products to stop its use. Contained in some toothpastes and mouthwashes to treat gingivitis. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums because of bacterial plaque. Triclosan is also used in dishwashing detergents, cosmetics, laundry soaps and hand soaps. Used widely in agriculture to stop bacteria growth, mildew and fungus diseases. It has contaminated everything through groundwater. Seventy-five percent of us have it within our bodies. This chemical is very harmful for the environment. It interferes with reproduction, development and growth of animals and plants living in/around bodies of water. Interacts adversely with heart, muscle and thyroid tissue in these animals. It is possible these adverse interactions seen in animals could also be present in sensitive humans.

Make it a priority to purchase certified organic produce.


Police All Products Listed Below

Please read the labels with regards to:




Hand Soaps

Hand Lotion

Dishwashing Detergents

Laundry Soaps

They all could contain triclosan.

Soap and water is safer, less expensive and doesn’t pollute our waterways and ourselves.

Categories: Health

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