Skip the Anti-bacterial Soap

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the U.S. FDA Advisory Committee reports that washing hands with plain soap and water kills bacteria just as well as anti-bacterial soaps. I read about anti-bacterial soaps causing bacteria to be resistant to antibiotics several years ago.  We have not used these types of soaps since then.

Here are several good reasons not to use anti-bacterial soap:

  • The active ingredient is triclosan (and the related triclocarbon) which is linked to liver toxicity.
  • Low levels of the above active ingredient may disrupt thyroid function.
  • The American Medical Association recommended not to use triclosan at home because it may end up causing bacteria to be resistant to antibiotics.
  • This chemical ends up in our water sources because wastewater treatment does not remove all of the chemical.
  • Triclosan is very toxic to aquatic life.

So which soaps should we use?  The EWG recommends looking for soaps that do NOT contain these three things:

  1. Triclosan
  2. Triclocarbon
  3. “Fragrance” (which can open the door to all sorts of chemicals)

We do use the instant hand sanitizer which is alcohol based.  That is good to use when hand washing with plain soap and water is not available.