Americans are obsessed with cleanliness, and if the products that help us clean, kill bacteria too- then that is even better. But is our spending worthwhile? Laboratory research shows that although these products are able to kill germs, there is very little evidence to show that their use actually translates into less disease in our environment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the best method for getting rid of germs and preventing contamination is to wash your hands frequently with regular soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds.
If you do choose to use an antibacterial product there are a few things that you should know. A study published recently by Tufts University Medical School in Boston indicates that antibacterial soaps and antibacterial-coated products may contribute to the increase of antibiotic resistance in our society. It is possible that these products could encourage bacteria to mutate in ways that make them resistant to antibacterial products, including antibiotics.
The specific "biocide" in question is triclosan, found in many antibacterial products. Although it was assumed to attack bacteria by dissolving the membrane walls, researchers have found that it may target a particular enzyme involved in creating the cell walls of the E. coli bacterium, much as an antibiotic would. This would enable the bacterium to actually mutate and build up a resistance to triclosan, rendering the "biocide" virtually useless.