A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Korea has proven that antibacterial soap is no more effective than ordinary soap in killing germs. The only difference between the two is that ordinary soap does not contain noxious substances that could trigger unwanted side-effects in humans, scientists have concluded.
Producers have been praising antibacterial soaps and their cleaning properties for decades, but a new study indicates they might be hiding the truth from consumers. Investigators at the University of Korea asked 16 adults to let themselves exposed to germs in a medically controlled environment to test how efficient antibacterial cosmetics are.
The exposure lasted for approximately 20 seconds, the amount of time that researchers considered to be the most appropriate for the current test. Then, respondents were asked to wash their hands with water and either antibacterial or ordinary soap. The temperature of the water was set to 22 and 40 degrees Celsius – the most recommended temperatures for hand cleaning.
At the end of the experiment, researchers noticed no visible difference between the effects of antibacterial soap and other less chemical products. On the contrary, the two types of products needed nine hours before the germs were finally killed. This means antibacterial cosmetics are not at all useful for people who do not spend more than several seconds to wash their hands.
Yet, there is a difference between the two types of cleaning products, in scientists’ opinion. Antibacterial products contain 0.3% cleaning agent triclosan. The latter was said to cause cancerous tumors in mice and could, therefore, be harmful to humans, too.
Even though they may not be immediately effective, antibacterial soaps still have the power to leave traces on the germs they are trying to kill. However, the mild damages they produce cause bacteria to become accustomed with triclosan and other cleaning agents. Thus, it may become impossible to fight certain germs if we continue to use these products.
Min Suk Rhee, the co-author of the study, is more preoccupied with the effects of false advertising on humans. The researcher thinks health authorities should verify the truthfulness of commercials and ban those products that are not as effective as producers claim them to be.
The findings of the new study were published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.
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