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Resistance: Documentary on Antibotics

  1. Apr 8, 2015 #1
    Last night I watched a good documentary on Netflix Instant called "Resistance". It discusses the issue of antibiotics in human medicine and agriculture. Lots of interesting history with debate about how we've badly mishandled antibiotics. Some heart breaking stories of people who caught an antibiotic resistant super bug (and died). Seems like a pretty big issue. I will be more cautious getting antibiotics, making sure I use them to term and stop buying antibacterial cleaning products.

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  3. Apr 8, 2015 #2


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    I never have =]
  4. Apr 8, 2015 #3


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    What about bleach, I've always used bleach. I use it in and on my toilets, my tile floors, my kitchen counters, my (bleach proof) clothes.
  5. Apr 8, 2015 #4


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    I don't think that applies in the same way. You're killing pathogens before they get into your body, but only within the house. You still go out and about and are exposed to things in the air (which helps keep your immune system strong).
  6. Apr 8, 2015 #5

    Doug Huffman

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    Antiseptics are not so easily resisted in the concentrations allowed on inert surfaces. Sodium hypochlorite 'bleach' is prime among these. At lower concentrations, allowing some pathogen survival, resistant populations are favorably selected and can become the dominant strain.

    Also alcohol, chlorhexidine (a favorite), quaternary ammoniums, boric acid, hydrogen peroxide (a favorite bleach from sodium perchlorate), peracetic acid, phenols (why paper toweling is effective), sodium chloride (weak diluted), sodium bicarbonate. Cold alcohol-CO2 vapor is used to clean ER/OR. Do not discount good ol' fashioned soap (contra detergent).

    I clean bathroom/toilet surfaces with sodium hypochlorite bleach, not least for the bleaching action on metallic marks as from finger rings.

    While I struggled to maintain my hot tub antiseptic, I used bromine rather than chlorine, and 'shocked' with potassium peroxymonosulfate (Oxone/potassium monopersulfate). I studied going to hydrogen peroxide, but shipping high grade H2O2 is expensive! as a 'hazardous' material. Now I merely change the water very frequently as it is essentially free.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2015
  7. Apr 8, 2015 #6


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    Another reason to avoid antibacterial products is that one of the major components of these products (triclosan) is thought to be an endocrine disruptor, a substance that can interfere with your body's endocrine and hormone systems.

    From the FDA:

    Bleach as an antimicrobial agent is fine as it will neither contribute to antibiotic resistance nor act as an endocrine disruptor.
  8. Apr 9, 2015 #7


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    Am I correct in thinking isopropyl alcohol (~70% solution) is similar to bleach, in those respects?
  9. Apr 9, 2015 #8
    Tricolsan is a synthetic compound . Its method of action is as follows, from
    As an endocrine disruptor, there may not be any relavance for humans, as mentioned above, humans lack the enzyme.

    Environmental concerns are where it displays some problematic features . It is thought to breakdown into dioxin under sunlight leading to a possible cancerous agent; it is quite now so prevalance in the environment is thought to have eco-system affects, especially near and downstream from waste water discharge, due to concentrations in the effluent; and of course the possibility of resistant organsims bcoming more prevalient due to wide spread use.

    A typical study,
  10. Apr 9, 2015 #9
    The "How clean is too clean" hygiene questions the "cleanliness is next to godliness " on its head, when gone too far overboard.
  11. Apr 9, 2015 #10
    Have you tried adding a silver ion concentration to the water?:-p
  12. Apr 9, 2015 #11


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    Yup, rubbing alcohol, Purell (which contains ethyl alcohol), hydrogen peroxide, and iodine are all examples of disinfectants that do not promote antibacterial resistance and are not known endocrine disruptors. If you want to avoid triclosan, you should check the label for the active ingredients. If the product contains triclosan, it will be listed there.

    Just because triclosan was designed to target a bacterial enzyme does not mean that it targets only that bacterial enzyme. Part of the reason why most pharmaceutical drugs have side effects is that the molecules can bind to enzymes other than the enzyme that they're supposed to target. For example, the classic example of an endocrine disruptor, bisphenol A, was not even designed to target any protein (it was designed help harden plastics), yet it can bind to and affect hormone receptors in the body.

    Whether triclosan causes adverse health effects in humans is not yet known, though evidence from animal studies suggests it could be harmful. However, triclosan is not an essential ingredient of the products containing it, and there is no evidence that antibacterial soaps containing triclosan are any better than regular soaps (studies do show, however, that toothpastes containing triclosan are better at preventing gingivitis than regular toothpaste). Thus, weighting the benefits of triclosan (little to none) against the potential harm (contributes to antibacterial resistance, potentially an endocrine disruptor), I, personally, try to avoid using products containing triclosan.
  13. Apr 9, 2015 #12
    Excellent, I was thinking I'd have to ditch my hand sanitizers when traveling
  14. Apr 9, 2015 #13
    Which is why I mentioned "may not" be harmful for humans.

    Another animal study, for example, shows an "association"o_O.
    A study on long term exposure - 6 months for mice evaluates to 18 years for humans, although the dose is not stated.
    "Triclosan Associated with Liver Damage in Mice"
    No doubt, more study will be needed.

    It is the prevalence in the environment that bothers me, and this is due to the substance at one time being added to market a product as a 99% bacterial killer.

    As you, I tend to stay way from these products.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2015
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