Ever since you were little your mother always told you to wash your hands. Wash them after your use the bathroom, wash them before dinner (especially in public), wash them after playing outside, wash them after a subway trip downtown; keep them clean! Well what if you learned that washing your hands too much may be harmful? Soap! It’s the key ingredient to any clean household, but soaps that contain antibacterial chemicals, like the ones used in hospitals claim to be effective at killing up to 99.9 percent of the bacteria on your hands.
These antibacterial chemicals, are just that—bacteria fighters, effective at killing bacteria and not viruses. Viruses are the cause of the cold and flu. But that’s not what we’re so much worried about really, but instead, it’s important to understand that a certain level of bacteria is good for keeping the immune system strong and effective for those viruses that leak through the suds. When overly sterilized with antibacterial soap, people, and children especially, are more prone to infections when they do come in contact with germs outside of their sterile safety zone—their home. It’s good to keep you and your kids clean and safe from any dangers.
Another popular concern of antibacterial ingredients is, triclosan. Triclosan causes endocrine disruption, which,when mixed with plain tap water (chlorinated water), it can form chloroform gas. This makes antibacterial soap dangerous to bath with, and if ingested, can be stored in body fat and cause hormonal problems such as liver damage.
Use antibacterial soap only at those times when you really need it, and not every time you or your child walk in and out of the house; a little bacteria will do a body good, and avoiding soaps with triclosan will do a body a lot of good. Good, old fashioned regular soap has been shown to be just as affective in keeping hands clean as long as you lather up and scrub well for at least 60 seconds.