My Favorite Soap . . .
Is infused with lavender, mint and a smidge of E. Coli, but to mix things up I sometimes custom blend a batch of lemongrass and staphylococcus aureus. Now, if you are new here you might think this is strange, but really it’s nothing. I also let my kids eat dirt, believe the occasional fever is beneficial, and am actively looking for a way to give my kids the chicken pox.
Okay, that part about the soap is pure rubbish, but today I do happen to have a story about cleansers that is oh-so-much stranger than fiction. Over the weekend Kimberly-Clark pulled several hundred bottles of Kleenex-brand luxury foam sanitizer from Canadian shelves because - wait for it - they contained bacteria which “may pose serious health risks to people with weakened immune systems.”
Say what? Antibacterial products pre-loaded with bacteria?!?!? As one blogger asked, “Why didn’t the bacteria contaminating those recalled bottles get zapped on contact with the magic goo inside?”
Kimberly Clark is not commenting on that, but in its statement the megacorp did say that “The bacteria identified in the tested samples are from the Burkholderia cepacia group. These bacteria pose little risk to healthy Canadians, as their bodies are able to successfully fight off infections. For someone whose immune system has been weakened by other serious illnesses, especially cystic fibrosis, these bacteria can cause serious infections, including pneumonia and blood infection.”
The Thing That Gets Me . . .
About this recall is that it’s a real-time picture of us making our own fears come true. Anti-bacterial products say they kill “99.9%” of germs, but what they don’t tell you is the .1% that get left behind develops a resistance to disinfectants. Kimbely Clark has not indicated that the bacteria found was a superbug, but it could well be on it’s way to becoming one. Here’s what I mean:
“In a recent study a :mutated strain of P. aeruginosa [which is responsible for 1 out of 10 hospital-acquired infections] was observed developing a resistance to the common disinfectant benzalkonium chloride (BSK) with rapidly increasing tolerance.
Eventually, the mutated superbug was able withstand concentrations of BSK 400 times greater than the non-mutated strain, according to a report in The Star.
But that’s only the half of it.
The superbug form of P. aeruginosa, which became resilient against BSK after prolonged exposure to the chemical, was also found to be resistant to the powerful antibiotic ciprofloxacin–despite never being exposed to it. Ciprofloxacin is considered a “drug of last resort” in fighting some of the world’s scariest bacteria, such as anthrax. Researchers worry that if a bacteria strain more powerful than P. aeruginosa were to develop the resistance, the consequences could be devastating.” (source, emphasis mine)
Now, I Am Not Against Anti-Bacterial Products
Some contain harmful chemicals for sure, but others like this four thieves vinegar make a great hand sanitizer when washing isn’t possible. We also use this alternative to Lysol for deep cleaning the house. But here’s the thing: Germ theory is bunk, and putting triclosan in everything from toys to toothpaste is not going to keep us healthy. And even if it were true, the fact remains that at any given moment there are 100 bacterial cells for every 10 human cells in our bodies. No amount of anti-bacterial goo is going to put a dent in that ratio.
What Do You Think About Anti-Bacterial Soaps & Sanitizers?
Follow-Up Post: How To Make Non-Toxic Hand Sanitizer
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