Breaking news: Scientific American is reporting that throwing antibiotics into just about everything might not be so healthy.
[L]ately consumers are getting the message that washing with regular soap is insufficient. Antibacterial products have never been so popular. Body soaps, household cleaners, sponges, even mattresses and lip glosses are now packing bacteria-killing ingredients, and scientists question what place, if any, these chemicals have in the daily routines of healthy people.
Though really, that's not really breaking news for a couple of reasons. First, the SciAm (do they call it that? they should) article is from June 7, and it's probably reporting on research done long before that; it's just that the matter has only now come to my attention thanks to the bloggers at Boing Boing. Second, we already knew that.
Obviously, when you spray antibiotics all over the place you're going to increase the chances that a resistant strain develops, and obviously pouring streams of antibacterial soaps down the drains every day will provide an environment for those resistant strains to develop places beyond your own kitchen counters and bathroom floor. Something I hadn't thought of, though, is how far particular antibiotic compounds reach into the food chain:
Triclosan has also been found in human breast milk, although not in concentrations considered dangerous to babies, as well as in human blood plasma. There is no evidence showing that current concentrations of triclosan in the human body are harmful, but recent studies suggest that it acts as an endocrine disrupter in bullfrogs and rats.
Great, huh? Good thing we're good hippies here, and put up with shea butter and vitamin E and who knows what else in our hand soap to avoid having to buy the antibacterial kind.