Household chemicals promote antibiotic resistance

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cleaning products(NaturalHealth365) In an attempt to clear out all of the undesirable bacterial invaders that enter the home each day, millions of Americans, spray, wash and dump antibacterial soaps and cleaners onto counters, in bathrooms and down the drain without considering the personal health implications or greater environmental consequences.

If you think those antibacterial soaps and cleaners are enhancing your immunity, guess again – even the Center For Disease Control reports that any substantial data fails to support this claim. In fact, many household chemicals have actually been shown to induce respiratory illness by damaging endothelium as well as create neurological damage when inhaled.

How does antibiotic resistance get created by household chemicals?

As antibiotic resistance continues to climb, it’s time to take a closer look at some common household chemicals that may be largely responsible for helping to create today’s superbugs.

When you spray or wipe an antibacterial product on any surface they often leave behind a trail of surfactants that can create a hospitable environment for certain bacteria to thrive. And as the old adage goes, “only the strong survive” applies here.

Triclosan, the chemical found in almost all antibacterial cleaners (with the exception of herbal-based cleaners) can cause genetic mutations in bacteria after they’ve been exposed for prolonged periods of time. Many natural health experts warn that these genetic mutations can render certain superbugs even more resistant to antibiotics than we realize. Current research is aimed at understanding resistance on a genetic level.

The shocking environmental impact that “washes up” onto your dinner table

Consider this:

The chemicals you wash down your drain that include antibacterial residue end up in lakes, streams and are then segregated into the municipal sludge. Municipal sludge is as “lovely” as it sounds – the microbial end-products that result from the wastewater treatment process.

Wondering where this sludge goes now? It’s often used to fertilize crops. The threat of these harmful antibacterial agents making their way onto your dinner plate is very real. This means the foods you eat intended to give life and promote immunity are actually stripping it from you.

What is the best way to clean my house?

As if antibiotic resistance isn’t already high enough because of general overprescription by conventional practitioners, we can all certainly do our part to reduce it from growing by making subtle, inexpensive changes in the home.

Good old soap and water has been doing the trick for a long time. Enzyme based cleaners are great because they eliminate microbes without the damaging environmental effects of antibacterial agents. Ellen Sandbeck, author of Green Housekeeping suggests using essential oils in enzyme based cleaners to keep your house clean without imposing harm to its microbial environment while protecting yours. Think about using thyme, lavender and oregano oil sparingly.

And finally, a word about those ‘air fresheners’, avoid them like the plague. To keep your air space fresh and clean – open windows, have lots of plants and, if you can afford it, get a high-quality air purifier to remove unwanted debris.

About the author: Christine M. Dionese L.Ac, MSTOM is an integrative health expert, medical journalist and food writer. She’s dedicated her career to helping others understand the science of happiness and its powerful effects on everyday human health. Christine practices, writes and speaks on environmental functional medicine, epigenetics, food therapy and sustainable living.


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  • Rosaline Parker

    Everywhere I go there are air-freshener’s. The reasons may vary, but it usually is because fresh air isn’t being circulating throughout the building. Nature smells quite good, since we don’t allow nature into our indoor environment we turn to chemicals to simulate pleasant odors.

    The fact is the chemical smells aren’t really very pleasant, we just got use to them.

  • mommato3

    I use lavender oil in a vinegar & water solution with some other essential oils. Is 8-10 drops of lavender to 16 oz of vinegar water considered “sparingly” or am I over doing it? It’s my all-purpose go to cleaner so I use it daily on counters, spills, stove, etc.