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-   -   Anti Bacterial Soaps don't work.... (http://www.giantmicrobes.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4)

admin 10-29-2005 04:18 PM

Anti Bacterial Soaps don't work....
 
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

Ban the stuff
 
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

Quote:

Originally Posted by Norby
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

just water vs. soap and water
 
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.


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