Aiello et al. (2005) examined whether household use of antibacterial cleaning and hygiene products is an emerging risk factor for the carriage of antimicrobial drug-resistant bacteria on the hands of household members. Over 200 households were randomized to the use of antibacterial or non-antibacterial cleaning and hygiene products for one year, including the use of a handwashing soap containing 0.2 percent triclosan. The authors conclude that the use of antibacterial products did not lead to a significant increase in antimicrobial drug resistance, nor was there an effect on the bacterial susceptibility of triclosan.
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The conclusions from a significant body of research strongly suggest that antibiotic resistant and antibiotic sensitive bacteria are equally sensitive to the in-use concentrations of antimicrobials. There is also evidence, in real world situations, that using antimicrobials such as antibacterial hand soaps does not select for antibiotic resistant bacteria. These products provide a public health benefit, and their use should not be discouraged.
- Aiello AE, Marshall B, Levy SB, Della-Latta P, Lin SX, Larson E. (2005) Antibacterial Cleaning Products and Drug Resistance. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 11(10): 1565 – 1570.
- Akiyama H, Tada J, Toi Y, Kanzaki H, Arata J. 1997. Changes in Staphylococcus aureus density and lesion severity after topical application of povidone-iodine in cases of atopic dermatitis. J. Dermat. Sci. 16:23-3o
- Breneman DL, Berga CA, Keswick BH, Newman PB. 1998. Effect of an antibacterial bar Soap on atopic dermatitis. Abst. Annual Meeting Am. Acad. Derm. [Poster Abstract]
- Dyer D, Shinder A, Shinder F. 2000. Alcohol-free instant hand sanitizer reduces elementary school illness absenteeism. Familv Medicine. 32:633-638.
- Falsey AR, Criddle MM, Kolassa JE, McCann RM, Brower CA, Hall WJ. 1999. Evaluation of a handwashing intervention to reduce respiratory illness rates in senior day-care centers. Infect. Control Hosp. Epidem. 20:200-202.
- Fendler E, Ali Y, Hammond B, Lyons M, Kelley M, Vowell N. 2002. The impact of alcohol hand sanitizer use on infection rates in an extended care facility. Amer. J. Infect. Control 30:226-233.
- Guinan M, McGuckin M, Ali Y. 2002. The effect of a comprehensive handwashing program on absenteeism in elementary schools. Amer. J. Infect. Control 30:217-220.
- Hammond B, Ali Y, Fendler E, Dolan M, Donovan S. 2000. Effect of hand sanitizer use on elementary school absenteeism. Amer. J. Infect. Control 28:340-346.
- Lear JC, Maillard JY, Dettmar PW, Goddard PA, Russell AD. (2002) Chloroxylenol- and triclosan-tolerant bacteria from industrial sources. J Ind Micro Biotech. 29: 238 – 242.
- Marshall BM, Robleto E, Dumont T, Billhimer W, Wiandt K, Keswick B, Levy SB. (2003) The frequency of bacteria and antibiotic resistance in homes that use and do not use surface antibacterial agents. American Society of Microbiology, General Meeting, Washington, DC, Poster A-147.
- Rose JB and Haas CN. 1999. A risk assessment framework for the evaluation of skin infections and the potential impact of antibacterial Soap washing. Amer. J. Infect. Control 27:526-533.
- Sugimoto K, Kuroki H, Kanazawa M, Kurosaki T, Abe H, Takahashi Y, Ishiwada N, Nezu Y, Hoshioka A, Toba T. 1997. New successful treatment with disinfectant for atopic dermatitis. Dermatology 195 (Suppl.2):62-68.
Bruce Cords is vice president of Environment, Food Safety and Public Health at Ecolab, a global provider of premium commercial cleaning and sanitizing solutions for food processors, foodservice, healthcare and hospitality providers worldwide. Reach him 651-233-8984 or firstname.lastname@example.org.