Does the Kind of Hand Soap I Use Really Matter?

Credit: WilleeCole Photography/Shutterstock
Credit: WilleeCole Photography/Shutterstock
Tis the season for caring and sharing… sharing germs that is! Lucky for you a new study says fancy antibacterial soap isn’t any better at killing germs than plain old regular soap. Makes watching out for germs a little easier, right? You’d probably assume if you spend a ton of time inside a hospital or your kids are running around daycare using antibacterial soap would be the best way to keep everybody healthy, but a new study says otherwise!
Credit: Margoe Edwards/Shutterstock
Credit: Margoe Edwards/Shutterstock
A bunch of Korean scientists found out plain soap was just as effective at killing germs as antibacterial soap that contained triclosan (a hard-to-say ingredient added to products to reduce bacteria). The soap was tested using the average amount of time spent washing hands.

Triclosan in the US

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said millions of U.S. consumers buy and use antibacterial hand soap and body wash products because we think they work better than all the other stuff. Guess how much Americans spend? Over $1 BILLION a YEAR! Triclosan (promise, we’re almost done using that word) is found in household products (clothing, furniture, kitchenware, toys) and hygiene products like soap, toothpaste and makeup. How safe is triclosan? That’s a good question…the FDA actually released a consumer update that says they’re still looking into it. Companies are already giving the ingredient the boot – Procter & Gamble removed triclosan from 99 percent of its products because of the controversy. NPR says triclosan can still be found in common products like Cetaphil’s Gentle Cleansing Antibacterial Bar, Colgate Total toothpaste, CVS Antibacterial Hand Soap and Dawn Ultra Antibacterial Dishwashing Liquid, among others.

Triclosan health risks 

The FDA says exposure to triclosan over an extended period of time could be a potential risk factor for hormonal effects and resistance to bacteria. They got the info by studying rats which makes it tricky to find any triclosan-related health concerns in humans. So how do you keep this from happening?

Credit: Kakigori Studio/Shutterstock
Credit: Kakigori Studio/Shutterstock
  Good old fashioned hand washing…apparently with whatever soap you want.

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