Please Do Not Use Antibacterial Hand Soap

by updated 2008/06/16

This is certainly not a new request, but one that has recently received more study and publicity. I wrote a while ago on environmental problems caused by soap in lakes, rivers and streams. The addition of the chemical antibiotic Triclosan to so many consumer products is just compounding the problems.

The group Beyond Pesticides has written a very complete fact sheet on the use of consumer products that contain Triclosan. There is also a much more recent study comparing antibacterial soap with regular soap that definitively shows no difference between the two in germ killing effectiveness.

We no longer use the Soft Soap brand antibacterial in our home. We started using it without thinking because this was the only large size hand soap that was sold at our local Costco. We have switched to using Lifetree brand liquid soap. I recently sent Costco an email asking them to discontinue selling the antibacterial soap. If any of you are Costco members, please feel free to copy and edit the below text of the email them. As they are usually pretty good about responding to customer requests, if they get a few emails, a change might actually be made!


Dear Costco:

At our local Costco you sell the large bottle of Soft Soap anti-bacterial hand soap. Recent evidence shows that non-antibacterial soap does as good a job at cleaning hands and killing germs as the anti-bacterial products. Also the bacterial soap creates real environmental problems. It has been shown to cause sex and reproductive problems in fish, for example. There is also the long standing concern of scientists and doctors that repeated use and exposure to the antibacterial soap is creating germs that are more resistant to antibiotics.

It would be nice if Costco offered a large size liquid hand or dish soap that was more environmentally friendly. One that we use, but of course were not able to purchase at Costco, is the 1 gallon size Lifetree brand biodegradable, phosphate-free dish and hand soap.


Related Post: Antibacterial Soap – The Saga Continues

Will Sig

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