Overuse of Antibiotics: Antibiotic Hand Soap is Part of the Problem

Studies Show the Negative Impact of Antibacterial Soaps

While it seems responsible to use strong soaps to reduce the spread of germs in workplace bathrooms and kitchens, studies are showing that there are serious problems with that approach from a systems perspective.

The Top 3 Reasons to Avoid Antibiotic Soaps in Your Business Bathrooms and Kitchens:


#1 Antibiotic Soap Has More Germ-Killing Power Than You Need 

Businesses may be using strong soaps for short-term germ protection, and be unaware that they are adding to long-term health problems for themselves, their employees and customers.  Overuse of  antibiotics in  hand soaps is leading to the development of germs that are resistant to antibiotics.  With constant use of antibacterial hand soaps, only the strongest germs survive and reproduce. Those that survive become resistant to many antibiotics. For this reason, using antibacterial soaps actually increases the risk of a serious infection that does not respond to antibiotics.

#2 Antibiotics From the Soaps Enter Our Water Supply and Water Treatments Don’t Remove Them

Soap suds full of germ-killing chemicals go down the drain and into our water supply, and water treatment systems do not filter all of them out before the water reaches customers.  “A recent CDC study detected triclosan in the urine of 75% of Americans aged 6 and older” according to the article “Safety of Antibacterial Soap Debated”  by Martin F. Downs, WebMD Health News.

Rolf Halden, PhD, a scientist at Arizona State University, found that “sewage treatment captures only about 50% of the triclosan and less than 25% of the triclocarban that goes down people’s drains.”

This means that the antibiotic hand soap goes down your drain and comes back in our drinking water, with broad negative health effects.

#3 Research Shows That Antibacterial Soap is not Necessary to Keep Hands Clean, and That Ingredients in Antibacterial Soap Negatively Affect Human and Environmental Health.

Articles about antibacterial soaps and the systemic impact of triclosan:

Why Antibacterial Soap Causes Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria by Jack Roviere

Microbes: What They Do and How Antibiotics Change Them by Maura Mead-Callahan Ph.D.

Triclosan by M. Angela McGhee, Ph.D.

What are the Next Steps?

  • Spot check bathrooms and kitchens to find out what products you and your company are using and what they contain.
  • Ask your supply ordering team to avoid triclosan and triclocarban when ordering soaps and cleaning supplies.
  • Make your managers and employees aware of the risks of triclosan and triclocarban.
  • If you are in a professional building where soaps are provided, ask your building management to avoid using triclosan and triclocarban.
  • Subscribe to the Leading in Context™ Blog to stay in the loop!



For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?
  7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
  2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
  About 7 Lenses
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2010 Leading in Context LLC 

1 comment

Join the Conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: