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Too Clean? What Are We Leaving Behind?

cleaning products

It's easy to go overboard about clean. If folks downsized their carbon footprints to triple extra-small, someone would still be at them with a wipe.

I wonder what future generations will find of today's civilization. Will it be only planned obsolescence enshrouded in a plastic bag? Will our legacy consist of discarded refuse, mummified in poly-urethane containers? Tons of pieces of plastic in zillions of different forms.

We’ve come a long ways from the era when Mae West said, “I’ve been in more laps than a napkin”. Napkins these days only make it into one lap. Like most everything else, they are disposable.

Handkerchiefs have become a thing of the past, as have paper towels, dish rags, and even traditional brooms and mops. * Blow your nose with a tissue. * Dry your hands with a paper towel. * Wipe your countertops with a disposable, antiseptic wipe. * Sweep or mop your floors with a disposable pad.

Sanitation can become an obsession. We use disposable wipes for everything from our babies' bottoms to shopping cart handles. We use waterless sanitizers in our never-ending battle against germs. Advertisers tell us these products better protect us from germs than soap and water do. Let‘s not kid ourselves. Convenience is their main appeal.

Packaged with antiseptics and antibiotics, these disposables bear the promise of safety in a germy world. But do they keep us safe?

Medical professionals and scientists share growing concern over superbugs. Residues left by antibacterial products often result in antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria (1,4). When put under stress, pathogens can develop sub-populations. Their purpose is to defend the bacterial colony that disposable products try to wipe out.

Both the FDA and the CDC admit that antibacterial soaps are no more effective than regular soap and water(3). The biggest differences between them are:

  1. Regular soaps won’t trap bacteria in a residue.
  2. Regular soap won’t kill healthy bacteria along with the pathogens.

According to the WHO (World Health Organization)(2), we are approaching a post-antibiotic era – one in which common infections and minor injuries can kill.

Before you spray that countertop or use that wipe next time, ask yourself if it will do more harm than good. Are you keeping things too clean?

Read more at these sources:

  1. “Antibacterial Soaps No Better at Cleaning.”Accessed February 22, 2016.
  2. Caba, Justin. “Meet The Doctors Looking For A Solution To Antibiotic-Resistance [VIDEO].” Medical Daily, April 16, 2015.
  3. “Antibacterial Soap vs. Regular Soap: Which One Is Better?” Accessed February 22, 2016.
  4. “Strange but True: Antibacterial Products May Do More Harm Than Good" - Scientific American. Accessed April 29, 2016.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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