Lather up now, germophobes: FDA readies limits on antibacterial soap


#1

LA Times:

Lather up now, germophobes: FDA readies limits on antibacterial soap

[LEFT]The makers of antibacterial soaps and bodywashes will have to demonstrate that their products are safe, effective, and prevent the spread of illness better than good old-fashioned soap and water, or they'll have to conform to new rules, the Food & Drug Administration said Monday.
Just days after unveiling new proposals to limit the use of antibiotic medications in livestock raised for human consumption, the FDA's new measure takes aim at soaps suspected of promoting the development of bacteria resistant to eradication and of exposing consumers to hormone- disrupting chemicals.

If the products are not shown to be safe, effective and superior to soap and water in preventing disease spread, the FDA said manufacturers will be required to reformulate or relabel them as a condition of continued sale. The new rule, which will be open for public comment for 180 days and then subject to a 60-day rebuttal period, would not affect such products as hand sanitizers, sanitizing wipes and antibacterial products used in healthcare settings.

                                                                                                                                                                In announcing its latest  effort to limit the use of bacteria-fighting products, the FDA is  focusing largely on triclosan (used in liquid soaps) and triclocarban  (used in bar soaps, including many deodorant soaps). In animals,  exposure to high concentrations of these compounds has been found to  suppress thyroid hormone concentrations and to have estrogenic effects,  including premature puberty in females and low sperm count in males. As  the chemicals have been found in human breast milk, urine and blood,  there is growing concern that the product's widespread use may affect  human health as well.

Just as I've always suspected (though I didn't know about the hormonal issues). There's a rather Monk-ish woman at work and I argue with her that using Purel which supposedly kills 99.9% of bacteria just kills the weakling and leaves the strong ones to prosper. Besides, cold, flu &c are caused by viruses not bacteria which are ubtouched by antibacterial soaps and hand sanitisers.
Good old soap & water for me.

See this cartoon from XKCD.

[/LEFT]


#2

[quote="didymus, post:1, topic:348323"]
LA Times:

Just as I've always suspected (though I didn't know about the hormonal issues). There's a rather Monk-ish woman at work and I argue with her that using Purel which supposedly kills 99.9% of bacteria just kills the weakling and leaves the strong ones to prosper. Besides, cold, flu &c are caused by viruses not bacteria which are ubtouched by antibacterial soaps and hand sanitisers.
Good old soap & water for me.

See this cartoon from XKCD.

[/quote]

[/LEFT]

Over use of the soaps like antibiotics, allows the survival of the fittest, dries the skin, and is probably not going to prevent much in the way of disease. Soap, hot water and TIME washing hands (not just splash and dash) will go a long way to preventing the spread of disease. Works for me too :D.

Lisa


#3

Soap and water work *as long as you have soap and water.

*
Sometimes those things are just not available.


#4

I have a great disease repellent. It's called nutritious food. Works like a charm.

I'm glad the FDA is closing in more on these areas. In some environments we're practically artificially selecting germs just as thoroughly as a dog breeder; it's a very alarming long-term prospect.


#5

I. for one, welcome our new bacterial overlords.


#6

at church yesterday even though I knew we probably would not have the sign of peace (due to cold and flu season) I took my bottle of sanitizer with me. It wasn’t purell, though.


#7

Right because only people that don’t eat right ever get sick. :rolleyes:

I’m glad the FDA is closing in more on these areas. In some environments we’re practically artificially selecting germs just as thoroughly as a dog breeder; it’s a very alarming long-term prospect.

I wish the federal government would stay out of my life.


#8

I quit using antibacterial soaps in my home years ago, as it was suspected many years ago that it contributes to the development of “super-bugs”. Some of these, like MRSA used to be confined to hospitals and nursing homes, but now they are community-acquired. That is scary. My son-in-law nearly died from a staph (MRSA) infection from an ingrown hair on his leg, and he had not been in any public places like locker rooms, gyms, or hospitals.

We are turning into a nation of germophobes, and ironically our super-hygenic practices are killing people.


#9

I was under the impression, perhaps falsely, that washing one’s hands vigorously and with a good lather helps remove viruses from one’s hands before they can be spread to mucus membranes where they can take hold.


#10

Well yeah, viruses can be mechanically removed with regular handwashing, but hand sanitizers do absolutely nothing to limit the virulence of viruses. The little particles are not affected by antibiotic treatments, period.

This does nothing.


#11

I think alcohol-based sanitizers are fine — there’s no antibiotic for bacteria to become resistant to (unless a particular bottle is alcohol-based AND contains an antibiotic.)

As for viruses, viruses with lipid membrane (e.g., influenza) are susceptible to alcohol-based sanitizers, given a high enough concentration of ethanol. And viruses can’t really become resistant to alcohol. It “dissolves” the membrane. Other cold-causing viruses aren’t really affected unfortunately.

But I’ve always wondered how much of the stuff you need to put on your hands and for how long. A small dollop might get thinned out too quickly, and the ethanol might evaporate before it does anything useful…


#12

I'm not a fan of the Sign of Peace, but currently it is part of the Mass so I take part in it. My problem with it is not the spreading of germs; I just don't see the necessity of it.

How it relates to this subject... The Sign of Peace has been around for a lot of years, however, it is only recently that people have either chosen to nod at you, or whip out their hand sanitizer.

I doubt that there has ever been one instance of someone dying from the SoP, or contacting a serious disease.

I, myself, just roll my eyes at the people who nod instead of shaking hands. I've never encountered a sanitizer, but hear they're out there.

I'm not really sure how to describe my feelings about this, but it just seems the germaphobics (sp?) are silly people. Look around, at everyone who is shaking hands, they return to Mass week after week. They clearly survived the handshake.

If you are so concerned about the big bad germ monster, why not just wear a dainty pair of gloves to Mass and then you're protected from the nasty germs.

Another suggestion, after the handshake, keep your hand way from your face, until you can make a stop in the restroom, and then wash your hands.

Like I said, I've never encounter a person using a hand sanitizer, after a handshake with me, but if I did, I would be insulted.

And another thing, if you sanitize your hand, after you shake with me, then why didn't you do it before? If I have germs, then so do you and how dare you spread them to me!!!

And yes, I am mocking the germaphobics (sp?)


#13

Very true, which is why the LA Times article mentioned the FDA’s recommendation of alcohol based hand sanitizers.

Mere soap and water will destroy any bacteria. Adding antibiotics to soap doesn’t make a difference in terms of getting sick. The whole thing was a marketing gimmick and nothing more. Since such misuse of antibiotics seems to increase bacterial resistance to antibiotics when we actually need them, I am glad to see the FDA take action. This is a case of protecting the public from reckless businesses.


#14

How Christian of you. :thumbsup:

Yes, please mock those people. By golly, how dare they only nod to you. :mad:

Or wait, maybe we should wonder why they are afraid of getting sick. :newidea:

Maybe they are the caregiver for an elderly relative. And if they get sick, there is no one to take care of dear ol Dad. So they nod to you.

Or maybe their child is undergoing chemo. They go to Mass for the support of their Christian community. Their child’s doctor told them that hand shakes are one of the fastest ways to pass an illness. So they keep their hands to themselves.

Or maybe they are like me. And they have lupus. They nod to you because any illness will knock them out for weeks, not days.

Maybe you have never known anyone like this. Someone that is so afraid to get sick that they sometimes don’t even come to Mass. But I have. Heck, I have been there.

And if I don’t shake hands with you, maybe instead of rolling your eyes you will understand *why *I am not offering my hand.


#15

As far as I know, alcohol-based hand sanitisers are effective against most bacteria and viruses, including influenza and the common cold. They are not effective against viruses such as norovirus which causes gastroenteritis.

Washing with plain soap and water is the best option - it is the friction that gets rid of the organisms so you need to rub your hands together properly. A quick swish of the hands under running water, as you see people do all the time, does nothing.

As has been pointed out already, if soap and water isn't available, hand sanitisers are a very good option until you *can *wash with soap and water. Keeping your hands away from your face is also important - for example, touching your eye, rubbing your nose or putting your hand over your mouth will transfer whatever is on your hands to the moist and warm mucous membranes in those areas - ideal conditions for the bugs to increase in number to the point where they are capable of causing illness.

FWIW, I wouldn't be offended if someone used hand sanitiser after shaking my hand, especially in cold and flu season - I'd assume that they have a medical reason to be especially careful to protect themselves against organisms (or perhaps have a new baby in the household). I don't have any such medical reason and tend to be a bit laid-back about things like shaking hands but I know that my approach is not appropriate for everyone.


#16

A better approach during flu season is probably wearing a surgical mask sing viruses are more often spread by airborne droplets (sneezes, coughs) that you inhale.

I must admit I’ve become a bit of a germaphobe in that I hate to see folks use the WC and wash up. Rather cancels the benefit of my hand washing. I wish all public bathroom doors opened out so one could shoulder them open.


#17

I only wash my hands after the bathroom, before cooking, or when visibly soiled.

I rarely get sick. The immune system needs continual practice!


#18

I think that is something to consider. I’m not a “germophobe”. In fact, I grew up in a house of medical professionals who did not believe in keeping our home too sanitized so that we’d not have weak immune systems. That said, whenever we were around people with weak immune systems (whether newborn babies, elderly, people with certain conditions, etc.) we had to be empathetic towards them and aware of their condition so that we wouldn’t get them sick.

That all said, now that my main occupation is singing, a cold can potentially mean a loss of major income which helps to pay our mortgage and bills or even just to put food on the table or buy diapers for my son. I don’t get paid time off if I’m sick. It can also be difficult to find a sub at the last minute, which is usually how it happens. You wake up on the day of the mass, wedding, performance, etc. and find out you can’t sing. I’ve been fighting a cold for a couple of weeks. Fortunately, the worst of it occurred on days where I didn’t have to sing, but it was hell trying to sing and not having all of my voice a couple days later. I did have to cancel an audition (potential income that was lost) because although my voice might have been good enough for mass, it was not good enough for singing a couple opera aria, especially baroque pieces that require a lot of vocal flexibility and strength. I will say that for each of the masses I cantored, I warned the lector about my cold (which they would have noticed, anyway, because I was coughing) and that I didn’t want to spread it to them, so I didn’t want them to feel offended if I didn’t shake their hands. Each of them were very appreciative, thanking me for being considerate of them. I know I would be extremely appreciative if someone did that for me.


#19

[quote="Geist, post:17, topic:348323"]
I only wash my hands after the bathroom, before cooking, or when visibly soiled.

I rarely get sick. The immune system needs continual practice!

[/quote]

Same, but also before handling any kind of food (like, say, my lunch), and definitely after handling certain foods (raw chicken, for example).


#20

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