by Katherine Butler

“We are a culture of germaphobes, spending as much as $930 million on antibacterial chemicals and $2.4 billion on soap at the end of the last decade.  But is it possible that our war against germs is doing more harm than good?

“Antibacterial or antimicrobial products do have a place in our society:  in hospitals, on the surgeon’s table, in your nurse’s hands.  But stationed in our handbags, waiting to be daily lathered up at the first touch of a subway pole?  Not so much.  Studies show that some antimicrobial products not only contain potential hormonal disruptors, but they are enabling superbugs to breed beyond our ability to smite them.”

A hyperbolic title, but still a good reminder that the increasing predominance of antibacterial soaps/hand cleansers is not beneficial, and probably affirmatively harmful.  I have been shocked to see recently both the number of people that go to extreme lengths to try to avoid “contaminating” themselves in juxtaposition with the number that don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom.

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