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Originally published January 8 2007

Report: Soap and water as effective as environment-damaging antibacterial cleaners

by Ben Kage

(NaturalNews) According to a report in the January issue of the Harvard Health Letter, regular soap and water is just as effective as hand sanitizers and antibacterial soap when used correctly and frequently.

Past studies have revealed that 15 seconds of hand washing with regular soap and water eliminates 90 percent of bacteria, said Harvard Health Letter editor Dr. Anthony Komaroff, but he noted that a large number of people failed to wash their hands regularly and dry them properly. The report stated that 90 percent of respondents to a telephone survey said they would wash their hands after using a public restroom, but researchers observed only 75 percent of men and 90 percent of women washed their hands before leaving a public bathroom in a real-world study.

Komaroff did not discount the usefulness of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, saying that they were useful, but most people didn't use enough of the gels to be effective. The best practice with hand sanitizers is to use several squirts and make sure to get not only the palms of the hands, but also the backs of the fingers and hand, he said.

However, not all health experts are in favor of antibacterial products and antibacterial hand soap in particular. Health advocate Mike Adams has noted in past NaturalNews articles that the ingredients of such products are often highly toxic, and seep into the skin and bloodstream of consumers through repeated use. If that wasn't bad enough, Adams also reports that harmful chemicals do more damage after they circle the drain, making their way into the groundwater to poison nature and re-poison people. Regular hand soap is usually made from fats and oils, and is therefore considered significantly less harmful to both consumers and the environment.


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