November 23, 2006

What's wrong with fighting bacteria?

War on Bacteria is Wrong-Headed says the LiveScience article. It says that more than three-quarters of liquid soap and more than a quarter of bar soaps on supermarket shelves contain triclosan, an antibiotic that kills most bacteria, both good and bad. And...

Bacteria outnumber human cells in your body 10 to 1. This is a good thing. The entire digestive tract is lined with bacteria, from top to, uh, bottom. These bacteria work with the body's own chemicals in breaking down food, converting it to useful vitamins and minerals, and making sure the intestinal walls can absorb the nutrients for the bloodstream to circulate. Without these bacteria, we could not digest food. Babies, born relatively bacteria-free, are extremely limited in what they can eat.

Human skin contains many species of harmless bacteria. Their presence prevents harmful bacteria, what we commonly call germs, from gaining a foothold on your skin. Numerous studies show that antibacterial soap is no more effective than ordinary soap in cleaning your hands. Either kind lifts off germ-laden dirt. But antibacterial soap kills helpful bacteria on the skin, freeing up valuable real estate so that harmful bacteria can move in later.

Now I've read that triclosan is not really healthy to have in your soap. But finding a liquid soap that doesn't contain it is a challenge! Since I'm allergic to aloe vera, that rules out a couple of the "natural" brands, and in some stores, there is not a single bottle that is triclosan-free and aloe-free.

Fortunately, Dollar Tree has some. And the price is right!

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