News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Antibacterial soaps - more hype than health

Antibacterial soaps - more hype than health


Antibacterial soaps are little more than a marketing invention and at worst could actually be doing us harm, says Consumer NZ.

"Ads trumpet the soaps' 99% bacteria-killing power successfully playing on our fear of germs and boosting multi-million dollar sales," says Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin.

"But evidence these products provide any extra benefit is lacking - and there's a chance they are doing us harm by reducing the effectiveness of drugs we rely on to fight infections when we do get sick."

Triclosan and triclocarban are among the most common bacterial agents manufacturers use in their products. Both are being targeted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The agency has said it will require manufacturers to prove antibacterial soaps are safe for everyday use, and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing the spread of infections, Chetwin said.

The antibacterial agents are found in many products on supermarket shelves in NZ from brands like Dettol, Health Basics, Select, Protex and Palmolive, she said.

They are approved for use here but there is growing concern use of antibacterial agents in consumer goods are contributing to the development of antibiotic resistance.

Triclosan has also been found in wastewater here. It's one of the chemicals being tracked by researchers from the government-funded Centre for Integrated Biowaste Research, investigating the environmental effects of ingredients used in common household products.

Project leader Dr Louis Tremblay told Consumer NZ triclosan was an effective broad-spectrum antimicrobial but it should only be used where there was a clear benefit. It was overkill to use it in household soaps.

His advice was, if people wanted to do something for the environment, choose a plain bar of soap.

Studies cited by manufacturers to support claims that washing your hands with antibacterial soap provides any health advantage over using plain soap and water, have largely been dismissed by the FDA.

Chetwin said antibacterial soaps were a solution to a non-existent problem - regular soap and water would get your hands as clean as they needed to be.


ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Scoop Review Of Books: From Here And There

Being Chinese: A New Zealander’s Story
by Helene Wong.
This is the fascinating story of Helene Wong, born in 1949 in Taihape to Chinese parents: her mother, born soon after her parents migrated here, and her father, born in China but sent to relatives in Taihape at seven to get an education in English. More>>

Chiku: Hamilton Zoo's Baby Chimpanzee Named

Hamilton Zoo has named its three-month-old baby chimpanzee after a month-long public naming competition through the popular zoo’s website. The name chosen is Chiku, a Swahili name for girls meaning "talker" or "one who chatters". More>>

Game Over: Trans-Tasman Netball League To Discontinue

Netball Australia and Netball New Zealand have confirmed that the existing ANZ Championship format will discontinue after the current 2016 season, with both organisations to form national netball leagues in their respective countries. More>>

NZSO Review: Stephen Hough Is Perfection-Plus

He took risks, and leant into the music when required. But you also felt that every moment of his playing made sense in the wider picture of the piece. Playing alongside him, the NZSO were wonderful as ever, and their guest conductor, Gustavo Gimeno, coaxed from them a slightly darker, edgier sound than I’m used to hearing. More>>

ALSO:

Howard Davis Review: King Lear At Circa

In order to celebrate it's 40th birthday, it is perhaps fitting that Circa Theatre should pick a production of 'King Lear,' since it's also somewhat fortuitously Shakespeare's 400th anniversary. If some of the more cerebral poetry is lost in Michael Hurst's streamlined, full throttle production, it's more than made up for by plenty of lascivious violence designed to entertain the groundlings. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Tauranga Books Festival

Escape to Tauranga for Queen’s Birthday weekend and an ideas and books-focused festival that includes performance, discussion, story-telling, workshops and an Italian-theme morning tea. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news