Anti-bacterial skin sanitizer recalled for containing... high levels of bacteria

Analyses of several samples of over-the-counter topical antimicrobial skin sanitizer and skin protectant products revealed high levels of various bacteria, including some associated with unsanitary conditions, according to the agency. Some of these bacteria can cause opportunistic infections of the skin and underlying tissues and could result in medical or surgical attention as well as permanent damage.

I’ve never heard of Clarcon but will certainly avoid them forever. I mean, if you’re anti-microbial sanitizer is growing lots of bacteria, you’re all kinds of fail.

No, there was nothing wrong with the sanitizer. Indeed, they have finally created the superbug!

What is with people’s obsession with sanitizers anyway. My local supermarket provides free sanitizing wipes next to the shopping carts, so you can sanitize the cart handles before you touch them. FFS.

Aside from the obvious overuse of antibacterials by the general public, sanitizers have gotten a big push recently with H1N1 (swine flu) concerns. Not that it would even necessarily help in that particular case, but people seem to like the idea that they’re doing something to prevent it.

My parents were living in Asia during SARS, and there was a similar thing there too, especially with face masks. Nevermind that 90% of the masks sold didn’t have a fine enough filter to keep the SARS virus out, people just liked wearing them.

The anti-bacterial stuff that is in the dishwasher soaps and hand soaps actually have very little real anti-bacterial ingredients…nothing close to what you find in hospital grade soaps and cleaners. They put in just enough to be able to claim it’s ‘anti-bacterial’. The reality is that you are just as well off using soap that is not anti-bacterial, and at least in LA, it saves the oceans as the anti-bacterial stuff is not biodegradable.

Antibacterial crap kills 99.9% of germs, I heard. Soap kills 99.9% of germs. Welcome to your retardation, antibacterial crap buyers!

What’s more, I wonder if it is even good to keep rubbing that junk on your hands, alcohol and all. Studies are suggesting alcohol-based mouth washes aren’t good for regular use, perhaps it’s the same with this stuff.

In NZ we’re seeing a lot of ads for them, mostly aimed at neurotic mothers worried about the germs growing on stuff their kids touch. HELLO! Your own damn spawn put the germs there, do you think wiping the door handles will some how help now?!

I’ve heard that your body needs exposure to some amount of bacteria in order to build antibodies to fight infections. So I’ve heard also that overuse of anti-bacterial products can actually slow your body’s production of antibodies, leading you to become sick more frequently, rather than less.

I have no idea if that’s true or not… it sounds rather urban myth like (though a quick search on Snopes yielded nothing). Perhaps someone more scientific could say whether that’s a load of rubbish or not. ;)

I can see how anti-bacterial products would be bad for you in the sense that your exposure to various bacteria is limited and by extension the immune system would be less adapted. So indirectly, maybe. But directly? Doubt it severely.

I use hand sanitizers at times when teaching, such as grading papers and such. I do it because I don’t have any soap available at the time, basically. So I just treat it as soap.

^ That’s about a sensible use.

I just get whatever smells nice. Antibacterial hand wash prior and post food preparation is essential, but other than that, just use whatever. The hospital grade stuff is extremely potent, usually nuking everything on your hands and drying your skin in the process, which is why it’s used mostly by surgeons and post-operative care.
The best stuff I’ve used are those alcohol-based dry sanitizer variants that don’t require you to use water. Just dispense, rub into your hands, let evaporate. It’s bizarre initially but saves time and a towel, and reduces risk of additional contamination from taps, towels, surfaces, etc.

Having a hospital microbiologist as a father is fun, incidentally.

Eh, it’s highly debatable in terms of the use of antibacterial santiziers and soaps and so forth (as Lorini mentioned, most aren’t very potent). The real issue is with people who get a virally-induced cold or the like and get an antibiotic (which is only effective against bacterial infections) or people who get antibiotics of any kind and fail to finish the bottle of pills. The final days of antibiotic use are critical, that is when the mutated, more steadfast bacteria are killed.

I think the use of these antibacterials has increased due to the MRSA infections. MRSA is a Staph infection and Staph is tough to kill. It is one of few bacteria that is resistant to salt. The CDC recommends that people use an alcohol based sanitizer when washing hands (Plus soap, obviously) to prevent getting a Staph infection.

Indeed, MRSA and Staph. infections are top of the list of problems due to insufficient sanitisation of hands by hospital staff. That and Marmite under the fingernails.

My mate?

Most of the hospitals I have been to lately have hand sanitizer stations outside each room. Nurses use the sanitizer when leaving and entering the patient’s room.

That is where hand sanitizers are the most important to use.

I don’t see anything wrong with using alcohol-based sanitizer (Purell etc) on your hands. It’s certainly better than using antibiotic soaps or even scrubbing your hands.

I know I’ve certainly stopped getting sick nearly as much since I started sanitizing (due to an OCD girlfriend).

Yay for anecdotes!

I disagree. A good washing with soap is all you need for food prep (and proper cooking and kitchen techniques, of course). I work in the hospital lab field and my wife is an MD, and we do not have antibacterial products in the house. We have soap, because as others have said, the home based antibacterial products are only as effective as soap.

My son almost died from MSRA. On the skin, its bad. It got into his lungs. It tooks some heavy doses of one of the last lines of antibiotic defense we have to save him. The indiscriminant use of antibiotics and antibacterials by some physicians/patients, by the animal feed industry, and in home use products makes me insane.

Here is a CDC article on antibacterial home products

Stop buying this CRAP!
(unless you are using them to protect a vulnerable person, such as someone who is immuno-compromised)

Hmm. Speaking of immuno-compromised people, if someone was on a long term regime of high-dosage morphine, just how much would that be fucking with their immune system? That is to say, would that be a person who would benefit from more seeking out decent antibacterial soaps and such?

Well I’ve always used a hand sanitizer like the Purell stuff for handling chicken in particular, due to having suffered the consequences of bad hygiene when preparing it. Seafood is another dodgy area - I’ve only just got over a stomach parasite (Giardia Lamblia for god’s sake!) which I suspect came from poor hygiene conditions relating to the prawn salad I bought. From a very big high street chain, too.

I’m glad your son beat the MRSA juggernaut by the way. The amount of times my dad has had to lecture hospital workers about good hygiene is numerous indeed (he’s the hospital infection control consultant, so any slip-ups are actually things he has to give advice on treatment for).

I need to get a decent soap. Handwashes are expensive, especially the nice ones.