We are approaching a mutant bacterial Armageddon at warp speed. It will see the human race’s dominance of this planet disappear with nowhere to point the blame finger but at ourselves and our misplaced obsession with cleanliness in combination with our gullible acceptance of whatever pap spews from the media..
The culprit is a little known chemical TRI- CLOSAN…and it is appearing everywhere, soaps, hand sanitizers, toothpaste mouthwash, even in the paints applied to children’s toys.
There was a time only a few decades ago when this antibacterial was limited by the American FDA to restricted usage in operating rooms in our hospitals. Then some rising star in advertising or the chemical industry realized there was gold to be had in our phobias regarding infectious diseases. The saturation of the consumer market was then inevitable in a malleable political system like the American one greased by lobby money.
We’ve all watched the mouthwash ads claiming a single swirl of “their” product guarantees elimination of 97% or oral bacteria. The ads don’t tell you that most of those bacteria are harmless and there for a useful purpose involving the digestive process. Nor do the ads mention the product indiscriminately destroys all the flora, not just the harmful ones. The ads also fail to mention what the other 3% that didn’t get zapped by triclosan are doing. Bacteria are great multipliers. They are better at it than people and unlike humans who tend to repeatedly butt heads on the same obstacles, bacteria adapt. They mutate…and whatever you throw at them causes them to change and eventually develop resistance. Within a very few hours, the bacterial counts are back to their original levels. The fact is, we are at risk of community level super-infections from our indiscriminate overuse of antibiotics.
We live in a symbiotic world where most bacteria are good. The human digestive system could not function without the myriad bacteria aiding in the digestive process. After all it is the microbes on the ocean floor that will eventually gobble up the contaminants from the Gulf Coast BP oil spills and it is our childhood exposure to many innocuous bacteria and viruses that stimulate the development of our protective immune system. Our skin is another example of this superbly engineered shield. There are greater numbers of good bacteria on the surface of our bodies than the actual cell count. These bacteria actually attack more harmful varieties and therefore protect us while assisting the immune system to mature.
Our greatest concern though is the ecology of TRICLOSAN. Where do you think that mouth rinse or that hand sanitizer goes when you are done with it? That’s correct. Down the drain and into the water supply where it decomposes and morphs in to dioxins we now clearly understand are the fresh face of carcinogens. Research shows TRICLOSAN shows up in breast milk. It’s even showing up in fish and other marine life we consume.
European research is ahead of us and has shown this chemical interferes with thyroid function and there is a suspicion other hormones are affected. Some European countries have already banned TRICLOSAN while the FDA on this side of the pond continues to dither. So before you succumb to the next advertising onslaught, remind yourself of this:
Research has shown antibacterial products do not reduce the risk of infection by any greater factor than ordinary soap and water. There is no proven correlation antibacterial agents reduce the occurrence of infectious events in daycare centers, schools, hospitals and households.
So read the label Avoid products with TRICLOSAN in their chemical potpourri but if you still believe your personal circumstances require some extra protection, put your wallet back in your pocket and make yourself a dilute solution of any number of equally effective common inexpensive household agents…vinegar, lemon juice or even ordinary baking soda.
Written by: Dr. David Carll