De-Tox Our Schools: Step One
In two years, we may no longer see anti-bacterial soaps and products lining our shelves. Early in 2014, the FDA made a bold announcement (bold because FDA approval is often politically influenced by corporate profit), advising that the "cost" of anti-bacterial products may outweigh the benefits.
What is the cost?
For starters, anti-bacterial products usually contain triclosan. So? In studies on rats, frogs and other animals, triclosan appears to interfere with thyroid hormone. In humans, there are concerns that this could lead to infertility, early puberty, obesity, and cancer.
Combine this assault with our exposure to hormone-laden meat and dairy products, hormone-disrupting flame retardants, BPA in plastics, and chemical pesticides, and our kids' developing bodies are potentially seeing all-out blitzkrieg on a daily basis. Where the average age of menarche for girls was once fifteen in the 19th c, it is now twelve.
The other issue with anti-bacterial products is their lack of discernment. Our bodies are teeming with trillions- trillions!- of bacteria every second, and most of those little buggers are beneficial. They help us to digest food, keep our skin moist, and boost our immune systems, among many other things. We couldn't survive without our little bacterial biomes, yet we try to kill them off every time we use anti-bacterial soaps, cleaners, mattress pads, etc.
Antibacterial products are antibiotics. There is a reason your doctor is reluctant to prescribe an antibiotic these days. We are over-using them. Bacteria are smart. They evolve quickly and adjust to change. The more we use antibiotics for inconsequential purposes, the more motivation we provide for bacteria to produce offspring that are resistant to these drugs.
We are creating prime opportunity for Super Bug to develop.
So here is my proposal.
In EVERY classroom that there are sinks with water (or access to), we remove the anti-bacterial soaps and replace with natural, fragrance-free, plain old soap. Even the FDA says that soap seems to provide just as good a clean, minus the drawbacks that come with anti-bacterial products.
If the anti-bacterial manufacturers cannot provide evidence to prove the benefits of their products outweigh the dangers, they will be forced to remove their wares from shelves in 2016.
I say why wait that long?
Soap and water in. Triclosan and bacteria killers out.