Better living through chemistry?

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.”

2 thoughts on “Better living through chemistry?

  1. boohunney –

    your “3 second rule” (which is 10 seconds in food biz) has actually been studied too, and food dropped on the floor takes over 30 seconds to pick up bacteria there, so don’t throw out that food! and too there is “kissing it up to god”.

    btw, a couple weeks ago i was dining outdoors in west philly, and a very expensive piece of cheese went flying off my plate onto the ground. i was really pleased that my friend picked it up, brushed it off, and declared that she too thought it was safe to eat. it was, and it was totally delicious.

    aside from allergy issues, all those antibacterial product stop people from developing normal resistance to germs and bacteria. and not to mention the harmful properties of all the artificial scents…in my perfect world every artificially scented product would be banned.

  2. dd — I have quite a few friends that make their own soap, beauty blandishments, and house cleaning elixirs themselves from very basic ingredients. I have always used vinegar the clean glass.
    I think I am going to try my hand at it. I bought some hand crafted laundry soap at a Farmer’s Market the other week and it works great.
    Did you say cheese? With the cost of boutique cheeses at around 25 bucks a pound, I would have done the same thing! 🙂

Comments are closed.