Antibacterial products are dangerously overused in the United States.
I took the above photo outside our local supermarket. The wipes caught my attention because the container said “antibacterial wipes.”
Indeed, research shows that “shopping carts are loaded with more saliva, bacteria and even fecal matter than escalators, public telephones, and even public bathrooms. The only surfaces that had more germs were playground equipment and bus rails.”
But can’t our bodies handle it? Assuming we are generally healthy and are not in a special risk group, do we really need to kill all bacteria and create a completely sterile environment for us and for our kids?
My biggest worry is about the liberal use of antibacterial products in the household. During a recent trip to the grocery store, I was looking for an all-purpose cleaner. It wasn’t easy to find a non-antibacterial cleaner. Finding a non-antibacterial hand soap is even more challenging.
I am enraged at the manufacturers, and I’m enraged at their stupid commercials, featuring smiling soccer moms who tell us that our counter tops are covered with bacteria and that we must use their product to kill “99.9” of that bacteria, when our bodies should be perfectly capable of handling that bacteria.
Look at what happened with the very liberal use of antibiotics since the 1950s: by wiping out all but the most resistant bacteria, antibiotics were responsible for the development of a new “superbacteria,” capable of causing life-threatening illnesses, and resistant to antibiotics.
When we kill 99.9 of the bacteria on our counter tops, when we try to create a sterile, germ-free home, we are in fact encouraging the growth of much, much worse bacteria, that will not respond to antibacterial agents, and possibly not even to antibiotics. Do we want THAT on our counter tops?
When we choose antibacterial products, are we simply taking basic precautions to keep ourselves healthy, or are we slowly killing ourselves by weakening our immune systems and by contributing to the development of dangerous super bugs?
My personal opinion is that antibacterial products for the household should be outlawed. Seriously. They are that dangerous. What do you think? Do you use antibacterial products? If you do, are you aware of the possible implications?