Over the past few years, there has been an explosion of anti-bacterial products on the market. Soaps, cleaners, and the like. However, there's more and more reason to think that not only are they not helpful, but harmful.

Most anti-bacterials use similar means to antibiotics. The problems of overuse of antibiotics are becoming well known. Anti-bacterials cause some of the same things. Using them tends to kill off bacteria that are not resistant/immune to these chemicals, leaving the stronger ones to reproduce. Repeated use of them can thus eliminate the non-resistant ones, so if you should get sick from something, antibiotics are useless against them.

Regular soap and water are usually sufficient to clean a surface or item to a level of cleanliness that is safe for people. Anti-bacterials should be left for people with weak immune systems and other problems to use at a doctor's recommendation.

Also, there is growing evidence that the human immune system is similar to other parts of the body, and needs to be exercised. Especially by younger children, who are still developing their immune systems. Usage of anti-bacterials, and other ways of being extremely clean, keep the immune system from really working as often, and it can result in either a weaker immune system, or a hyper-sensitive one (as households have gotten cleaner over time, problems with allergies and asthma have increased).

If you think about it, we don't need them. 10,000 years ago, people were alive, and rather dirty. Yet they didn't all die off, even though they didn't take many simple sanitary precautions we take now. Doesn't this suggest that we should limit our worries to situations that warrant the precautions, like surgery? Heck, how many of us even take the time to apply medication and bandages to most simple cuts and scrapes? They don't usually cause problems, so what's the big deal?

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