Getting Rid of Little Bugs –– Big Business & Impending Legislation

2 Mar

Here’s an interesting conundrum – various environmental organizations are pushing for legislation to “wipe antimicrobial soaps from the shelves of pharmacies and supermarkets across the country” (Barr, 2011).

I have never been a fan of triclosan, the main ingredient in most anti-bacterial soaps.  The reason is because of its effects on the environment (dioxins) and on the health of not only aquatic species, but also species that may drink the water (that would be us), or the species that puts the compound purposely on our bodies in an effort to avoid “germs” (that would also be us).

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that affect the normal homeostasis, reproduction, development, and/or behavior of a living being.  These compounds can be one of three types of endocrine disruptors – “estrogenic (that mimic or block natural estrogen), androgenic (compounds that mimic or block natural testosterone), and thyroidal (compounds with direct or indirect impacts to the thyroid” (Snyder, Westerhoff, Yoon, & Sedlak, 2003).

One can read up on the science of this, but with just a little background in the dangers of messing with one’s hormones (e.g. the effect on one’s body if they take steroids), it is easy to understand why groups would be pushing for a law to get these antibacterial products off of store shelves.

I, personally, have always had an instant negative reaction to putting antibacterial soaps and lotions on my skin, and therefore stopped using them several years ago.  I wash my hands with water and natural soap and supplement with something called Thieves oil, which is a combination of cinnamon, lemon, clove, eucalyptus, and rosemary oils.  All of these are naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic.

Bacteria is not our enemy.  Granted, there is a place for anti-bacterial products (e.g. in a hospital), but not for every-day use.

There are many arguments for the dangerous effects of trying to constantly kill bacteria on one’s hands and body parts.  For example, we are actually creating super-bugs (e.g. methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA) that are almost impossible to “kill”; such a situation could result in a pandemic.

If we humans could understand that we were equipped with a pretty powerful bad-bacteria-fighting machine (THE IMMUNE SYSTEM), we would find ways to support that versus killing all bacteria.  Beneficial bacteria abound, and a healthy immune system lets good bacteria flourish while naturally getting rid of what’s bad.  Triclosan is not a sustainable nor healthy answer to sickness caused by “germs”.

So, here’s the real punch and point of this – we should not have legislation banning triclosan (since it was created in a semi-free-market).  We should be educating people why not to use it, and get rid of it via consumer choice.  Also, we could look on the books for federal and state laws that encourage the use of antibacterial soaps, and get those off the books, since they are creating an artificial market for a product that is harming people’s health and the environment at large.

Stop trying to legislate, and use all of that TIME and MONEY to educate the consumer about what the hell is going on.  If consumers decide, and if a free market is used to make decisions, THIS is the most sustainable means of creating a healthier environment and a healthier immune system.  It has to come from the people – legislating it will do no long-term good.

Idealistic?  Yes.  Impossible.  No.

By: Tisha Casida

Barr, B. (March, 2011). Antimicrobial crusade won’t wash. Politico. Retrieved on March 2, 2011 from .

Snyder, S.A., Westerhoff, P., Yoon, Y., & Sedlak, D.L. (2003). Pharmaceuticals, Personal Care Products, and Endocrine Disruptors in Water: Implications for the Water Industry. Environmental Engineering Science, 20(5), 449-469. EES-review-2003.

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2 Responses to “Getting Rid of Little Bugs –– Big Business & Impending Legislation”

  1. dean and dianna July 20, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    well i think it is important what we use on the outside as well as the inside … after all we are what we eat…. but so much to say about everything like gmo’s right from seed to the water we drink and air we breathe big business right down to our government. but all we do is talk no one wants to stand up and get something really done.but look at all the years it goes back and how long it has taken for people to see… just a small amount of what is taking place… if we only knew all we would really be upset.right down to our pets food things are so out of hand with fda government to people standing back w/out a word to say… too busy?! well the chemtests and all are real… who to go to what tod and what can be done?! and the seniors and vets checks….. what has america gone to? i am glad that i am a older person

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