People of Earth, a new age of hand-washing is dawning: The tyrannical reign of triclosan (and its attendant weird smell) is coming to an end at last. Not only is there no evidence that the stuff helps prevent the spread of germs, the FDA says antibacterial soap may pose health risks. Soon, manufacturers of antibacterial washes will have to prove their product is safer and more effective than plain ol' soap and water if they want to keep peddling their goods. And wow -- it only took the FDA 40 years to come to this conclusion.
Scientists have been warning us about antibacterial soaps for years. Not only do they suspect the soaps and washes are helping breed resistant superbugs, chemicals like triclosan appear to mess with our hormones as well. Reportedly the FDA's research came to the same conclusion, but they tried to keep the findings under wraps until environmental groups sued them.
Looks like antibiotics are the new bad guy in town. Just last week the FDA said it would phase out the use of some antibiotics in animals raised for meat. Again, this came years after scientists and activists demanded it.
I'm so glad the FDA is finally acting on the science. Personally, I think we all got way too carried away with the antibacterial crap. It was starting to give me the creeps, how ubiquitous the stuff was. You'd see it in every kitchen and bathroom, everywhere. See a kid sneeze, and their mom would whip out a bottle of antibacterial gel. We were getting special wipes to clean up our shopping carts, for crying out loud. How on earth did anyone survive a childhood in the 1970s without killing all the germs?!?
Honestly, we do not need to be THAT clean. A little dirt is good for you. It gives your immune system the challenge it needs to grow stronger. And coming down with a cold every once in a while is not the worst thing in the world for the majority of us. But even if you want to avoid getting sick, ever, vigorously washing your hands with regular soap and water will do the trick just as well.
So it's official. You now have the authority to say to your overzealous mother-in-law, "STEP AWAY FROM MY CHILD WITH THE ANTIBACTERIAL GEL. I REPEAT: KEEP THAT TOXIC HAND GEL THE HELL AWAY FROM MY KID, WOMAN. Also? You don't need to put it in your washing machine. You don't have to kill every germ that ever crosses your path. You shouldn't. You can't. It's time for us all to relax and learn to love dirt.
Do you still use antibacterial soaps and washes?
Image via jar ()/Flickr