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Why You Don't Need Anti-
12:00 PM CDT on Monday, May 14, 2007
By JULIE DEARDORFF Chicago Tribune
Soap and water are fine. The FDA says you don't need most anti-
It's a comforting time to be a germ freak. In addition to anti-
Never mind that trillions of bacteria reside on our skins and in our mouths and intestines. Or that some exposure to germs helps us develop healthy immune systems.
In 2004, Americans spent more than $540 million on anti-
Getting under our skin
The issue isn't just that products impregnated with germ-
The association says people confuse anti-
More disturbing, the germ-
This concerns researchers such as Rolf Halden, assistant professor at the Center for Water and Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The U. S. Geological Survey has shown that triclosan – which mimics the thyroid hormone and is commonly added to soaps, toothpaste, deodorant, dog shampoo, cutting boards, clothing, toys and other anti-
Dr. Halden's studies show a similar dispersal of triclocarban, which is found mostly in deodorant bar soaps.
Though the amounts turning up are minute, a recent study has shown it's enough to disrupt thyroid function in frogs. Equivalent data on humans isn't yet available.
As ingredients in products, the chemicals aren't necessarily harmful to humans, scientists say. But evidence is mounting that "these chemicals are remarkably persistent and possibly bioaccumulating not only through products [applied to the skin] but environmentally through drinking water and potentially contaminated crops," said Dr. Halden, a member of the FDA panel that looked at the benefits and hazards of antiseptic hand soaps.
The American Medical Association has opposed routine use of anti-
There is a place for anti-
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