All you really good mommies, listen up! That antibacterial soap and preservatives in many personal hygiene products may be causing more harm than good for your very young offspring. Using products with these ingredients may be linked to more allergies for your kids.
Researchers say that the antibacterial agents and preservatives do not, themselves, cause the allergies. Studies conducted by researchers at John Hopkins released a study that stated that the use of antibacterial soaps and products may play a role in immune system development. In turn, this can cause children developing allergies.
“We saw a link between level of exposure, measured by the amount of antimicrobial agents in the urine, and allergy risk, indicated by circulating antibodies to specific allergens,” said lead investigator Jessica Savage, M.D., M.H.S., an allergy and immunology fellow at Hopkins.
The study involved children 6 to 18. Their urine was tested for levels of triclosan, found in antibacterial soap, and parabens that a found in common personal hygiene products. Then, the levels of these ingredients were compared to levels of antibodies found in persons with environmental allergies.
“In the study, those with the highest urine levels of triclosan — an antibacterial agent used in soaps, mouthwash and toothpaste — had the highest levels of food IgE antibodies, and therefore the highest allergy risk, compared with children with the lowest triclosan levels. Children with the highest urinary levels of parabens — preservatives with antimicrobial properties used in cosmetics, food and medications — were more likely to have detectable levels of IgE antibodies to environmental allergens like pollen and pet dander, compared with those with low paraben levels.”
So, germaphobia is not the best thing for your kid’s immune system. Good old fashioned hand washing is fine and exposure to Mother Nature’s dirt may be the best. Yes, it’s OK for kids to be a little dirty and lick their pets.
But, I still don’t believe in the “three second rule.”