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View Full Version : Anti Bacterial Soaps don't work....


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10-29-2005, 04:18 PM
SILVER SPRING, Maryland (Reuters) - Antibacterial soaps and disposable wipes have not been proven any more effective than regular soap in preventing infections among average consumers, U.S. health experts said on Thursday.


But if plain soap and water are not readily available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a "useful" alternative, the advisory panel said in a unanimous vote.

Panel chairman Dr. Alistair Wood, assistant vice chancellor at Vanderbilt University's School of Medicine, said using plain soap and water was shown to be "pretty effective."

"There was no data I saw that showed antiseptic hand washing is any better," he said.

Consumer products that include bacteria-fighting ingredients should be required to have scientific data proving they prevent infections, the advisory panel also said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has been grappling with the issue for more than 30 years, asked the panelists to weigh the risks of such products for consumers amid concerns they may help create drug-resistant bacteria.

The agency has yet to make a final decision on how to regulate such products, which face many issues similar to antibiotic drugs, but are available over-the-counter.

"We're reexamining the risks to consumers," said FDA microbiologist Colleen Rogers.

FDA officials, who usually follow their experts' advice, could take a variety of actions, from changing product labels to restricting marketing claims.

At issue are antibacterial products that include chemicals such as triclosan, which targets a certain enzyme that bacteria need to live and may linger in the environment. Bacteria can mutate to adapt to such chemicals, scientists say.

Soaps with such bacterial-killing agents, such as Procter & Gamble Co.'s Safeguard and Henkel's Dial have been used for years and are now common households products.

Doctors and other experts are concerned that excessive use of the products, like overuse of antibiotic drugs, will create bacteria-resistant "superbugs."

"Bacteria are not going to be destroyed. They've been here, they've seen dinosaurs come and go... so any attempt to sterilize our home is fraught with failure," said Dr. Stuart Levy, a non-voting panelist and microbiologist at Tufts University in Boston.

Signs of drug-resistant bacteria in hospitals show the bugs are already adapting, he added.

FDA scientists and other experts said studies showed clear benefits from hand washing with plain soap, but data on antibacterial soap was limited.

"There is a lack of evidence that antiseptic soaps provide a benefit beyond plain soap in (the) community setting," said University of Michigan epidemiologist Allison Aiello.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers caused less concern.

While one expert said data did not show they were better than plain soap, others said they do prevent the spread of germs without leaving a residue that can trigger resistance.

Industry groups defended their antibacterial products as safe and necessary to protect consumers.

"The importance of controlling bacteria in the home is no different than in the professional setting," said Elizabeth Anderson, a lawyer for the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association. "We believe consumers should be assured that the products they are using are the most effective available."

The FDA has been sorting through the issue since 1972. Six years later it asked for more data on triclosan and again in 1994.

kskerr
10-30-2005, 01:20 AM
I will not allow such products in my home, I feel that they cause more harm than good. I think that the companies that sell them are preying on the general public's ignorance about such things. The misuse of antimicrobials is already causing serious problems such as TB that is resistant to all known antibiotics, and the problems are only going to get worse if this keeps up. Well, enough of my ranting.

Karen

Emily
10-30-2005, 06:02 PM
I'm with Karen on this one. Anti-bacterial soap sucks. It's bad and stuff.

CoolHandCake
10-30-2005, 06:05 PM
Aye. I don't use them myself either.

Emily
10-30-2005, 06:08 PM
Simply eloquent, Cake. Simply wonderful.

Norby
11-06-2005, 11:48 AM
I use antibacterial and regular soap (and rubbing alcohol when soap is not available.) The way I look at things (being raised/indoctrinated by two doctors), if antibacterial soap is creating superbugs, science will come up with a new antibacterial agent. That works until the germs develop an immunity and then a new antibacterial agent... etc. ad naseum.
However, I still prefer regular soap to antibacterial any day.

csm_joker
11-12-2005, 08:31 PM
I use antibacterial and regular soap (and rubbing alcohol when soap is not available.) The way I look at things (being raised/indoctrinated by two doctors), if antibacterial soap is creating superbugs, science will come up with a new antibacterial agent. That works until the germs develop an immunity and then a new antibacterial agent... etc. ad naseum.
However, I still prefer regular soap to antibacterial any day.

The fun problem there for us, is to find something that will easily kill even the resistant bacteria without irreparably damaging us in some way.
Even the most mild of the older antibiotics can have some pretty intense side effects.
There is a great idea being discussed at the moment, which is to coat the walls of a hospital in non-pathogenic bacteria. This should limit the possible living space for any dangerous ones (often usually resistant bacteria are less capable of colonising over present bacteria and few bacteria are able to coexist in the same film). Only downside is that in this environment, if a resistance gene was introduced, it is likely that it would spread to all of the bacteria and if the non-pathogenic ones somehow are displaced or mutate into pathogenicity, the entire hospital would be a danger.

kskerr
11-13-2005, 05:12 PM
Coating the walls of the hospital seems a bit nutty to me, though it is how our guts do it so who knows. Considering how long it takes to develop new drugs and get them tested and aproved I think that we should be more careful with the ones we have, who knows when and if a new one will come out that will treat something resistant to all others! Plus many companies are focusing on other diseases and not on making new antibiotics. I think that there is likely a limited number of compounds that would work and not harm/kill people as well and eventually we will run out of options. I think that vaccination might be the key to solving at least some of the problem, prevent the infection in the first place so that antibiotics are not needed. Proper hand washing with regular soap is also very important, I saw data showing how important. The mortality rates of two hospital wards were compared, one was run by nurses that washed between patients (low mortality) and the other by med school students and they did not (high mortality), this was back before the "antibacterial" soaps were invented.

saccharomyces cerevisiae
11-18-2005, 02:28 AM
does anyone know of any studies about the effectiveness of washing one's hands with only water vs. soap and water? my wife has dry skin and hates soap, and my experience in the army is that soap is overrated considering how long infantrymen are out in the field without cleaning themselves (of course everyone in the army gets all sorts of shots for who-knows-what...). you don't really want to wash your hands with your limited drinking water when it's 40 degrees, and i got made fun of when i once pulled out some hand sanitizer. go figure...

-dave

Louse
11-18-2005, 10:39 AM
I never understood why people use soap in the shower...doesn't shampoo pretty much do the job? And the new body wash stuff, thats amazing that it sells.

kskerr
11-18-2005, 09:38 PM
I use body wash and a loof thing, it helps get the dead skin off, plus I think it is cheaper than the shampoo (at least the brand I use might be). Water alone would be somewhat effective from what I have heard, the soap makes it more effective. I think the water is what is doing most of the work as far as washing microbes off, the soap helps cut oils and helps get rid of the potentially stubborn ones. I get dry skin too, I have lotion to solve that problem, I suggest getting a bottle and keeping it by the sink so she can wash her hands and then use the lotion to heal/prevent the dryness :) . I get the ones that brag about how ultra healing they are and especially ones that do not stink, and the pump top bottles are the best (Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Healing is my current favorite).

Karen

Efogoto
11-19-2005, 10:44 PM
Some of us, having lost our locks, no longer have a need for shampoo and so use only soap. :)

jack1
12-29-2005, 12:39 PM
Hello All,

This is really the very good discussion regarding the antibactirial soap and medication.We are some times facing the antibactirial disorders which is sometime very serious and important thing is to use tha right medication.iodine dosages (http://www.drugdelivery.ca/s3574-s-Iodine.aspx) are doing some better performance in this field .Is this better and what are the side effects for that and which precautions are needed is necessary.

Vireyda
01-08-2006, 01:49 PM
I use body wash because I have senisitive skin and it doesn't aggravate it as much, plus the loofah is a great exfoliant! Soaps are important for removing dirt and oils even if they aren't good at removing microbes/bacteria. I don't use an antibacterial hand soap though - moisturizing hand soaps only in my home and they HAVE to smell nice.

GERMan
01-10-2006, 05:37 PM
Another interesting one, on disinfectants and allergies, from wikipedia.org, query: "allergies":

"The hygiene hypothesis
One theory that has been gaining strength is the "hygiene hypothesis". This theory maintains that since children in more affluent countries are leading a cleaner and cleaner life (less exposure to dirt, extra use of disinfectants, etc), their immune systems have less exposure to parasites and other pathogens than children in other countries or in decades past. Their immune systems may, therefore, have many "loaded guns", cells which might have targeted, say, the intestinal worms that no longer cause trouble in affluent neighbourhoods. Having no reasonable target, these cells inadvertently become activated by environmental antigens that might only cause minor reactions in others. It is the symptoms of this exaggerated response that is seen as the allergic reaction.

Many common allergies such as asthma have seen huge increases in the years since the second world war, and many studies appear to show a correlation between this and the increasingly affluent and clean lifestyles in the West. This is supported by studies in less developed countries that do not enjoy western levels of cleanliness, and similarly do not show western levels of incidences of asthma and other allergies. During this same period, air quality, at one time considered the "obvious" cause of asthma, has shown a considerable improvement. This has led some researchers to conclude that it is our "too clean" upbringing that is to blame for the lack of immune system stimulation in early childhood.

So far the evidence to support this theory is limited."

Speaking of soap, it's better than antibiotic-enriched soap but mind that soapbars are known to be mostly high in pH. Meaning, they're mild bases and take away our natural acid protection...

I think antibiotic soap should be left to people dealing with mean shoot, like doctors and nurses or tourists in the tropics.

kskerr
01-11-2006, 10:41 PM
The reason poli took off in the US is because of the same thing, kids were not exposed to the virus as infants on their mother's milk which would have protected them while they made their own antibodies to the virus. When the kid was exposed to the virus later in life they had no protection and got sick. Perhaps exposing children to mild parasites so that their immune system has something to play with is the answer. Also not keeping everything psychotically clean all the time, let the kid play in the dirt or something. My siblings and I were raised tough and did not miss much school, my cousins were raised in a more sterile environment and seemed to get sick a lot more.

Giardia
02-26-2006, 09:13 PM
We use anti-bacterial soap, but I don't like it. Besides killing the good bacteria, which can make you sick, it really dries your hands out. I also accidentally swallowed some, and it was so corrosive that I had a sore throat for 3 days!

kskerr
03-04-2006, 03:23 PM
The chemicals they use to make soaps "antimicrobial" are generally not supposed to be taken internally... You might also have knocked out some of your normal throat flora and that might have been part of the problem. The only time I use antimicrobial soap is when I have no choice and have to use soap since rinsing would not be enough. That basically means when I am in lab since the lab I currently work in is a pathogens lab (only a week or so left there and and onto one that does not handle human pathogens), I do refuse to use the secondary antimicrobial hand sanitiser stuff though! Tell your mom (or whomever buys the soap) about the article in this thread and about the dangers that anti-bacterial soap can potentially cause. I got my mom to switch (for the most part) over, she slips sometimes since I don't live there anymore but when I go home to visit I do an inspection and let her know when she buys something that is not on the Your-The-Mother-Of-A-Microbiologist-For-Goodness-Sake approval list (yes I have uttered that phrase on several occasions, there is also a father, sister, and grandparent version of it). Being 10 years older and having a 4-year degree and working on a grad degree in micro gives me a little more persuasive power than you Giardia, but if you explain your postition in a respectfull and informed way you might be surprised. Good luck!

Giardia
07-31-2006, 11:14 PM
i would have to tell my brother...he has microbe-phobia, and insists on the antibacterial...maybe i should get my own little dispenser of non-antimicrobial soap!

kskerr
08-07-2006, 02:21 AM
I would totally have my own stash of soap if I were in your place! My mommy is breaking my rule, her favorite smelling soap only comes in antimicrobial and she brought it into my apartment, at least it is in a box so I don't have to look at it or have it touching my stuff!

Maverynthia
02-08-2007, 06:45 AM
i would have to say that I agree that being too clean is a detriment. Every since I had the flu as a kid, I haven't had the flu as an adult, same way with chicken pox. Thus I feel my system has built up an immunity to all types of flu (or I just haven't been exposed to the virus..) while the people that rush out and get flu shot of the day are only really protected against that one strain since they were so clean as to not get it.

kskerr
02-10-2007, 10:09 PM
i would have to say that I agree that being too clean is a detriment. Every since I had the flu as a kid, I haven't had the flu as an adult, same way with chicken pox. Thus I feel my system has built up an immunity to all types of flu (or I just haven't been exposed to the virus..) while the people that rush out and get flu shot of the day are only really protected against that one strain since they were so clean as to not get it.

The flu vaccination is not even close to the same thing. The flu vaccine exposes your body to several strains (3 per shot) of the flu virus that were identified as the most dangerous or most common. As with all vaccinations your immune system then mounts a response against that agent and you are thus immune to it, sometimes a vaccine will also give you partial immunity to a related agent(s), as is sometimes the case with the flu vaccine. It is highly unlikely you are immune to all types of flu as there are so many and they are so different, you are likely just lucky that you have not gotten it. Microbiologists in general, myself included, are strong advocates of vaccinations, they save millions of lives every year. The over cleanliness hypothesis applies to overuse of antimicrobials and not being exposed to organisms like worms, bacteria and such when you are young and the immune system is developing and needs stimulation and not being properly stimulated can lead to autoimmune disorders such as allergies. With chicken pox it is normal to not get it again once you have had it, it is not like the cold or flu viruses where there are so many different versions. Though from what I have heard you can have shingles later in life as the virus lays dormant in your system indefinitely, not sure but that vaccination could possibly prevent that.

crivit
02-14-2007, 01:40 PM
. Though from what I have heard you can have shingles later in life as the virus lays dormant in your system indefinitely, not sure but that vaccination could possibly prevent that.

Actually I've know a couple of children who got shingles from the chicken pox vaccine. From what I've read it's not common, but it does happen occasionally.

fat cell
06-01-2008, 10:14 PM
I use hand sanatizers and wipes. Thats all I use. ;) :)

mazuac
08-29-2008, 10:33 PM
I've tried to tell my parents to buy more non-anti-bacterial handsoap, but... they don't! I don't know why XD I wish they would, though...

Stomach Ache*Special
09-02-2008, 09:09 PM
Lol! I've always been using regular hand soap or regular bars of it! Nothing Anti-Bacterial! I always thought these Anti-Bacterial soaps were good, till I read this thread though! And I'm very glad I did:D!

mazuac
09-06-2008, 10:34 AM
Hah! Lucky~ Yeah, normal handsoap is much better!!!

Stomach Ache*Special
09-09-2008, 06:18 PM
Lol! It was blind "luck" if you ask me :p! And I wish I had more hand soaps around the house, because I barely get to use any of those things! Just bars :rolleyes:...

supergerm
09-10-2008, 08:07 PM
We have mostly just regular hand soap YAY!

Stomach Ache*Special
09-11-2008, 07:19 PM
I like your new Avatar Supergerm!!!!:D :D :D :D

Where did you get it?

Stomach Ache*Special
09-15-2008, 04:12 PM
Nevermind!!!! I know!!:rolleyes:

kskerr
11-03-2008, 02:14 PM
It is actually getting harder to find soaps that are NOT "anti-microbial", since consumers are obsessed with such products the manufacturers are producing them. Soap in and of itself has some anti-microbial properties, though its main function is to help wash the dirt and bugs off the skin, water does most of the work.

Stomach Ache*Special
11-03-2008, 07:03 PM
Really? That's messed up!:eek: I can see how people can be easily manipulated into thinking that only water isn't enough to wash off their hands (take the need to wash your hands with soap after you use the toilet! Even I feel like I really have to! >_<), but if people would do a little research, they'd see that it won't take much but simple soap! There's no need for some fancy Anti-microbial soap! u_u''

joyjohn
08-24-2009, 01:04 AM
Yes I too don't find much difference in antibacterial soaps. I use herbal soaps (http://www.internationaldrugmart.com/herbal-products/cream-and-honey-soap.html) and also use turmeric powder in water for anti bacterial effect.