BYU Radio

Is Anti-Bacterial Soap Bad for You?

Always gathering your favorite anti-bacterial hand soaps with the best-smelling scents? According to Dr. Sarah Ades, maybe it’s time to reconsider using those in your home:

“What’s the downside to having antibacterials in soap? It is potentially huge, both for those using it and for society as a whole. One concern is whether the antibacterials can directly harm humans. Triclosan had become so prevalent in household products that in 2003 a nationwide survey of healthy individuals found it in the urine of 75 percent of the 2,517 people tested. Triclosan has also been found in human plasma and breast milk. Most studies have not shown any direct toxicity from triclosan, but some animal studies indicate that triclosan can disrupt hormone systems. We do not know yet whether triclosan affects hormones in humans. Another serious concern is the effect of triclosan on antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Bacteria evolve resistance to nearly every threat they face, and triclosan is no exception.”  -Dr. Sarah Ades

Listen to the rest of the podcast here

Matt talks with Dr. Sarah Ades, an Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Penn State University. Prior to arriving at Penn State, Dr. Ades received her B.S. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University and Ph.D. in biology from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Recently, research regarding antiseptics found that the chemicals have little benefit but a lot of risk for individuals. An F-D-A ruling in September banned the use of 19 antiseptics from household soaps, but what does that mean for you and me? Dr. Sarah Ades explains.

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