I don't mean to scare you.. well, maybe I do.. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-10-2010, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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I don't mean to scare you.. well, maybe I do..

I read this article at work today and found it rather frightening. Thought I would share it, in case any may be interested.

"The Dirty Truth About Clean"
by author Sandi Gauvin

It’s that time again, when kids say goodbye to summer fun and head back to the classroom. Kids may moan and groan, but many of them secretly look forward to seeing their friends and being exposed to interesting new experiences—unfortunately, new experiences won’t be all they’re exposed to.

Along with fun field trips and new friends, kids will be exposed to some less pleasant realities such as bacteria and viruses. These, as we all know through the recent H1N1 epidemic, can be exponentially more malicious than a schoolyard bully and perhaps just as persistent.

To combat these bacterial and viral bad guys, a plethora of antibacterial soaps and disinfectants have been introduced, containing a host of unpronounceable active ingredients that claim to help destroy these invaders.

Triclosan to the rescue

Triclosan is one such ingredient that has been used for decades in products including toothpastes, soaps, kitchen utensils, and even toys. While the name is not as difficult to pronounce as others of its kind, the actual effects of this ingredient on our bodies and the environment are much less straightforward.

Past studies on triclosan found it effective in eliminating certain germs; but more recent research illustrates the paradoxical nature of this substance’s approach to dealing with bacteria and viruses.

Triclosan has the effect of inhibiting the synthesis of fatty acids in the cells of infecting bacteria (organisms comprised of single cells). Fatty acid synthesis is an integral mechanism of cell reproduction, thus its disruption by triclosan causes bacteria to cease reproduction. But it does not kill the bacteria. Nor does it kill viruses.

Triclosan and bacteria

In hospitals and health care facilities, triclosan has indeed proven effective in neutralizing certain harmful bacteria. However, a 2005 study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, which examined the interactions of triclosan on bacteria, questioned its use as a household antimicrobial agent. This was because the effectiveness of triclosan was found to be restricted to strict protocols involving triclosan concentrations, water temperature, and, most importantly, length of exposure.

How, in non-lab environments, can we be certain of triclosan’s inherent effectiveness? The problem is that the effectiveness of triclosan in neutralizing bacteria is restricted to prolonged contact—minutes as opposed to the seconds that most people engage in handwashing.

Unanticipated resistance

Some bacteria are very susceptible to triclosan; however, naturally resistant bacterial strains such as E. coli require increased amounts of the ingredient to inhibit the spread of these bacteria and are even able to build low-level resistance.

The method by which E. coli bacteria gains limited resistance to triclosan is through cross-resistance from other antibiotics, which provides certain defences against triclosan. There are no studies at this time to show triclosan leads to direct resistance, but this cross-resistance may mean that triclosan exposure could lead to bacterial mutations against other antibiotics.

Triclosan and viruses

Bacteria and viruses are often thought of as one and the same, but there are more than a few significant differences. The most noteworthy is that viruses, unlike bacteria, do not contain cells. They require host cells to pass on infection.

The common cold and flu are well-known forms of viruses. As mentioned earlier, the effect of triclosan is to stop fatty acid synthesis in cells, but how does this help when there is no cell? As you might guess, it doesn’t.

Multiple studies have shown that physically washing your hands with non-antimicrobial soap or even warm tap water by itself are more effective than triclosan in battling non-enveloped viral contaminations.

Instead of just focusing on the efficacy of triclosan, more recent publicity has brought widespread attention to the potential side effects it can have on our bodies and our environment—both intimately connected.

Triclosan and our bodies

Because chemicals can have unanticipated consequences, it is important for us to consider how the accumulation of this ubiquitous ingredient can affect our bodies.

In blood and breast milk
A 2006 study found triclosan in the breast milk and blood plasma of Swedish mothers who use personal products containing the substance. A more recent Australian study (2008) found “the triclosan concentrations were a factor of two higher in the blood serum of Australians” (both male and female) than the participants in the study in Sweden, where the researchers concluded “the use of triclosan is expected to be low due to consumer advisories.”

In our personal care products
Researchers and regulators have been studying the chemical effect that triclosan-containing personal care products (toothpaste, hand soaps, deodorants) creates when exposed to the chlorine in most of our tap water. The chemical reaction creates chloroform, a known carcinogen.

Researchers estimate that under some conditions the use of triclosan can increase a person’s annual exposure to chloroform by as much as 40 percent above background levels in tap water.

Triclosan and our environment

Since triclosan was first added to commercial liquid hand soaps in 1987 the percentage of those products containing triclosan has increased to at least 76 percent. And what happens to this soap once we’ve used it? Of course, it goes down the drain ... and into our sewage system ... and eventually into our waterways and soil.

In wastewater
A multitude of studies in several countries have proven wastewater treatment plants to be ineffective in completely removing triclosan. A very recent study done in January analyzed sediment from a wastewater effluent area in the Mississippi River and discovered the chemical reaction resulting from chlorine in the treatment plant produces several forms of dioxins.

The researchers found that these triclosan-derived dioxins had increased over the past 30 years by 200 to 300 percent, though levels of all the other dioxins had dropped 73 to
90 percent. The problem with these new triclosan-derived dioxins is that we don’t yet know what their long-term effects will be to our environment and, ultimately, to ourselves.

In agricultural fertilizer
The byproducts of water treatment plants (called biosolids) are often applied as fertilizer on agricultural fields. Many studies have found high concentrations of triclosan in this treated sewage sludge and subsequently remediated agricultural soil. And, according to the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association, approximately 50 percent of biosolids are being recycled to land.

In aquatic life
As you can imagine, triclosan has also been found in aquatic life, from wild Atlantic bottlenose dolphins to frogs.

Toxicologists are particularly concerned about triclosan because of its structural similarity to thyroid hormones, which play a crucial role in early human development. A recent study from the University of Victoria (UVic) has shown that triclosan can alter the metamorphosis of a frog by influencing its thyroid hormone production.

“Thyroid hormones and the mechanisms by which they affect cells are highly conserved from frog to mammal,” says Dr. Caren Helbing, a UVic molecular biologist. “It’s highly likely that what affects frogs could affect mammals, even humans.”

Are we too clean?

With the power of marketing, we’ve become a germ-averse society. Researchers are concerned about our overuse of antimicrobials, including triclosan. A 2010 study by researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois concluded that exposure during early childhood to microbials can reduce the inflammatory processes related to diseases associated with aging in adulthood.

If we truly care for our kids and their health, as well as the health of the planet, we may just want to think twice about our need for “clean.”"

If anyone wants it, here is a link to the article: The dirty truth about clean Antibacterial soaps do more harm than good :: Healthy Lifestyles and Natural Weight Loss Information | Fitness and Food Nutrition at Alive.com
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-11-2010, 12:18 AM
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I have honestly believed for years that being so concerned about being clean and treating every little illness is the main cause for some of the horrible bugs we have going around these days. People getting antibiotics for every little cut or cough or runny nose is what caused MRSA. People try to protect their kids from every little germ and that helps to actually compromise the kid's immune system because they don't start building good antibodies until they are older. Let the kid pick the sucker up off the ground and put it back in their mouth after rinsing off the dirt, let them eat with dirty hands occasionally, expose them to germs and let their immune system do what it's supposed to do. The kids will be better for it. I can remember when I was a kid, some kid would get the chicken pox and other parents (who's kids had never had them) would bring their kids over to play with the infected just to expose them. Now, it's "OMG!! Make sure the kid stays in quarantine for days, keep the siblings home too so they don't carry the virus back to school, etc."

Let the kids get sick sometimes, they will be healthier adults because of it.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-11-2010, 01:01 AM
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My kids are dirty. Like most kids. Kids in general are gross. Just nasty, eating off the carpet, rubbing stuff in their faces gross. Instead of worrying myself silly about keeping them clean constantly, we wear play clothes and wash our hands after bathroom breaks.

I was blessed with two thumb suckers. Keeping their hands clean at all times when they constantly have them in their mouths is impossible. I do my best to keep the dirt and grime to a minimum but its an effort in vain.

Now for the fun part. My son has only ever been sick once. This was after visiting my ill grandfather in the hospital. He came down with a nasty virus that is about 50% fatal in infants. He was life-flighted to Childrens where he recovered quickly but not before I had 40 panic attacks and several prescription meds pushed on me! LOL! My daughter, on the other hand, *knock on wood* has never been sick. Never. A runny nose here? A sniffle there? Ofcourse. But really sick, nope, never. I really do believe that this is because I 'let them be kids'. When we go to play at the park, I dont sterilize them or make them use hand sanitizer every 2 minutes. They usually come back from the park looking like mud covered little people.

Not only is it helpful for them to build up an immunity to certain bugs...its important that they be kids. I can't imagine a childhood without mud pies. Its important that they know that getting dirty is not the worst thing that can happen!

**just so were clear! LOL** my kids don't smell, they never look a mess in public, they brush their teeth and wash their hands after potty time. I just like em a bit dirtier than the rest of the moms I know! LOL
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-11-2010, 01:04 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by corinowalk View Post
I can't imagine a childhood without mud pies. Its important that they know that getting dirty is not the worst thing that can happen!
My favourite memories of my childhood were making mud pies. I completely agree with both of you, corinowalk and smrobs. I am so glad my parents didn't sanitize me constantly throughout my childhood.
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-11-2010, 03:42 AM
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Corino walk,
I loved your post. Glad to hear you let your kids be kids. I grew up that way, though we were asked to "wash up for dinner" after we came running to the "dinner bell". I kid you not . The whole neighborhood could hear our dinner bell.
Anyway, a good friend of mine lives in a giant, spotlessly clean McMansion. All three of her boys are extremely allergic to everything, rarely go outside, are scared of animals (if they aren't allergic to 'em) and are always stuffed up or sufferning excema. I feel it must be due to growing up in such a sterile household.

On the flip side of that, is the pervasive existance of some nasty chemicals in daily life that we never think about but are far more damaging to the body . We who grew up in the 1950's and 60's received some of the worst exposure because there were few environmental protections agains stuff like DDT and such AND plastics were becoming very commonplace.
All that stuff is still in our endochrine systems and always will be.
Maybe we won't need to be embalmed when we die.
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-11-2010, 03:52 AM
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I am in agreement also. There really is such a thing as being to clean. Not only does it keep them from developing a good immune system, but ya know, people need to live a little. Give my girls a good dirt pile (mud puddle too for that matter ) and they will play for hours. They really love it. My favorite expression regarding my kids is 'it takes a little dirt to make a kid grow'. It's nice to know that there are some like minded people out there. So many parents today are obsessed with keeping their kids clean, shiny and free of germs.
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-11-2010, 04:24 AM
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This is why all these anti bacterial everything freak me out. They kill 99.9 percent of germs, but what happens to the ones that arent killed. I just imagine some sort of anti-bacterial resistant strain popping up. I dont know if that would actually happen but I just wash my hands with soap instead...
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-11-2010, 12:05 PM
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Yep, the only place that I was paranoid about germs is when I was working in the prison (there were some really nasty germs in there), but I refused to use the antibacterial soap in the dispensers. We had this milled soap that was given to all the inmates and it was borderline lye soap so I know it killed everything, it was like washing your hands with bleach LOL. Outside of there, though, germs don't bother me.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-11-2010, 01:11 PM
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Anti bacterials have another wonderful side effect. They kill ALL bacteria. Including the microflora all over your body. You know what the great thing about microflora is? It keeps the transient species in check by out competing, making hostile environments, etc.

We did an expirement in Microbiology lab. It involved washing our hands 4 different ways (antibacterial, purell, plain soap/water, and just water) then taking a sample of our hands and allowing it to grow in a petri dish. Antibacterial killed everything, leaving room for transients to colonize. Purell didn't work at all, few people realize that purell is inactivated by organic material and is only effective if you WASH your hands first. Both plain soap/water and just water washing worked perfectly. They got rid of the transients on the hands, but left the microflora to protect.

I could go on and on about this subject. My Micro text was one of the few I kept because it was so interesting.
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-11-2010, 07:58 PM
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There are so many chemicals around everywhere nowadays

I was a dirty kid . Didn't always care that much about hand hygiene like most of kids don't. Took a shower perhaps twice in a week. I remember that dirty feeling on my face after I left a sandbox and went inside. Nowdays I'm an adult with a way higher hygiene and guess if my childhood dirtiness has helped me to build a strong immune system. I caught a cold perhaps 1 to 4 times in a year, the last time I had a stomach bug was around 10 years ago *knocking on wood*.

Anyways, I believe in normal soap and water. Since I'm an emetophobist, I wash my hands a lot and can help it with alcoholic sanitizer if there's an stomach epidemic going around, I've visited somewhere where it's a higher risk to catch something or I'm not able to wash my hands with water and have to eat etc. Tho I've heard that alcoholic sanitizer doesn't work with viruses, you've to have to use chlorine one. Alcholic sanitizer also has to contain alcohol enough so it'd work at all. If there aren't an epidemic going around, I can give up my hand hygiene a bit and give some practice for my immune system .

I think proper hand hygiene is still important. Due to swine flu, people were informed about hygiene in general more than usually and it decreased also exist of other contagious diseases. It still doesn't need to mean a bunch of different chemicals and stuff like that, just pure water and soap is enough. Like already mentioned, too aggressive cleaning destroys normal flora on your skin and it enables harmful germ to grow on your skin.

Like I said, I'm an emetophobist and that causes me to wash my hands a lot. I also hope other people will take care of their hygiene so they don't pass epidemics around. People still need some exposure, I for example believe a lot of allergies stem from hygiene that's a way too "good". When you don't have natural enemies enough, your immune system turns against itself. I don't know if anyone of you have heard that earlier but I've heard that a baby should lick an outsole of a shoe per a day so s/he'd create a proper immune system enough... I still think that's a bit aggravated example, even kids' immune system obviusly need stimulting I wouldn't still allow a baby to lick an outsole .

"On hyviä vuosia, kauniita muistoja, mutta kuitenkaan, en saata unohtaa,
Että koskaan en ole yksin, varjo seuraa onneain.
Vaikka myrsky hetkeksi tyyntyykin, varjo seuraa onneain.
Ja pian taas uusin hönkäyksin, varjo seuraa onneain.
Hei tuu mun luo, pieneksi hetkeksi. Puhutaan, varjoni, valkoiseksi enkeliksi."

Pelle Miljoona - Varjo seuraa onneain

Last edited by TaMMa89; 09-11-2010 at 08:04 PM.
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