The Legacy of Over Cleanliness

April 18, 2020

By Rebecca Carden

I’ve been pondering the long term ramifications of our excessive use of hand sanitizer and disinfectant on the health of our body ecology these past few weeks….and I do wonder if we are setting ourselves up for bigger problems to come.

Countries the world over are employing the use of massive trucks to pump out tonnes of white chlorine vapour through the streets as part of their “citywide sterilisation campaigns” and it gives me the heeby-jeebies to be honest.

Yes this MAY be effective in controlling the spread of a certain virus but what’s it doing to all the species of bacteria that share the planet with us, that are necessary for healthy immune systems??

Are we wiping out a whole lotta good along with the bad?

If you are using a traditional alcohol-based hand sanitizer, then it’s likely the skin on your hands is feeling a bit more worn and rough than the rest of your body. This is because alcohol is a skin irritant that disrupts your natural sebum production causing dry skin.

This, in turn, weakens the critical front line barrier that is our stratum corneum and completely disrupts the fragile micro-biome present on it which, makes it much much easier for harmful pathogens to cross on over into our bloodstream.

Only a few millimeters of skin protects us from the outside world…..

Then we have the fact that Alcohol has the potential to not only increase biofilm-promoting genes in bacteria but also encourage genes responsible for antibiotic resistance as a study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases and Therapy pointed out. That’s a nasty problem to have on our hands and one that could spiral out of control quickly.

Biofilm is so much more dangerous than just lingering germs on our hands. Biofilm is basically germs protected by a practically impenetrable layer of slimy microorganisms that stop said bacteria from being destroyed. Many antibiotics can’t even penetrate these biofilms. Yet here we are encouraging each other and our children to use alcohol-based hand sanitizer multiple times a day for the foreseeable future.

Every time we apply alcohol-based hand sanitizers we may be encouraging the creation of pathogenic biofilm on our own hands, supporting the rise of antibiotic resistance bacteria and damaging our own bacterial ecosystem in one pump.

I really do worry that the legacy of this over sterilised and sanitised world will be a generation of people with autoimmune issues and allergies. Research shows us that living in an environment that’s too clean can compromise our immune system’s ability to fight disease and set us on a path for poor health outcomes. Our body NEEDS bacteria, germs and viruses to build a resilient and robust immune system.<

Another problem we face is that due to the weakening effect of sanitizers on our skin, this increases our skin permeability to harmful chemicals such as BPA.

Now I hope nobody is taking receipts at checkouts right now because of possible germ contamination but if you are AND you are using hand sanitizer, well you’re allowing that beautiful Bisphenol A (BPA) to just swim on through right to your bloodstream by “up to a hundred-fold” as demonstrated by a study done by the University of Missouri.

The CDC (Centre for Disease Control) says that washing our hands with plain old soap and water is the most effective way to reduce the number of microbes on our hands and suggests using alcohol-based hand sanitizers that contain at least 60 percent alcohol ONLY when soap and water are not available.

If there is a sink nearby, we should use that instead of the easier alcohol-based sanitizer sitting next to it, because saving a minute isn’t worth compounding upon the serious health threat that is antibiotic-resistant biofilm and bacteria.

For what it’s worth, unscented Castile Soap is my preference to use in a Foaming Pump Dispenser with 10 drops each of Geranium and Lemongrass essential oils.

And please – Glen 20’ing the shit out of your home and your dog isn’t going to help anything but further compromise your immune system and create a really toxic home environment.

Just my musings……….

Peace out.
x Bec

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