March 03, 2014


Articles by Dr. Erdman are for informational purposes, and are not to be taken as specific medical advice.

Are you a germaphobe?  Must you have antibacterial soaps, wipes and hand sanitizers available at all times?  Do you really believe that if you touch a germ you will get some cold, virus or disease?  I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you don’t live in a germ free bubble.  These bugs are around you at all times.  In order for a particular germ to invade your defenses, there needs to be a weakness to exploit.  In other words, the ground(your body) needs to be fertile(weak) before you can ‘catch’ anything.

The use and abuse of antibiotic wipes, sanitizers, creams and soaps are a hazard to your health.  Triclosan and Triclocarban are the most common chemicals added to cutting boards, lunch boxes, mattresses, and hand sanitizers.  The attempt to control microbial spread has been a categoric failure. 

A growing body of evidence now suggests that the over application of triclosan is a leading cause of bacterial resistance to antibiotics.  It is bioaccumulatory in fish and other organic organisms.  Animal studies show that triclosan may alter the way hormones work in the body.  Triclosan is very good at killing off weak bacteria, which allows the virulent bacteria to thrive in their absence. 

Studies show that these antibiotic chemicals are no more likely than regular soap to prevent gastrointestinal or respiratory illness.   In fact, for chronically sick patients, antibiotic soaps were actually associated with increases in the frequencies of fevers, runny noses and coughs. 

Recent studies have also shown real concerns on human health.  Triclosan has been detected in human breast milk, blood and urine samples.  Serum thyroid hormone concentrations were also suppressed by Triclosan.

Even the drug loving, corrupt FDA is starting to take notice.  In December 2013, the FDA published a proposal that would require manufacturers to provide solid evidence to support the use of these two additives in their products.

Colleen Rogers, PhD, a leading microbiologist with the FDA, recently said,” New data suggests that the risks associated with long term daily use of antibacterial soaps may outweigh the benefits.  There are indications that certain ingredients in these soaps may contribute to the bacterial resistance to antibiotics, and may have unanticipated hormonal effects that are of concern to the FDA.”

Since the alleged effectiveness of antibacterial soaps to prevent infection has never been directly studied, there technically exists no evidence that they are effective to, in fact, prevent any disease.

I would encourage you to limit the number of household chemicals and disinfectants you use.  Some type of pesticide or antibacterial chemical can be found in things like laundry detergent, dishwashing liquids and bath and kitchen cleaners.  Disinfecting your surroundings really has no measurable reduction in illnesses you may encounter.  The opposite is actually true.  The more sanitized we try to keep our surroundings, the more likely the occupants have chronic illnesses like diabetes or asthma, and the higher the risk of acute infections.  You obviously need to clean the counter tops after raw chicken and things like that, but the obsession with microbes on everything is a bit much.

Two of our favorite cleaning products are peroxide and vinegar.  Either one will cleanse most surface microbes.  Following one with the other has been shown to be 10 times more effective than either one alone, or mixing them.  When warranted, I also use a chlorine dioxide solution which is not readily available to most.  It is a complete pathogen killer that can be ingested, sprayed on surfaces or evaporated to clean the air. 

Simply put, you do not need to be a clean freak to enjoy a healthy life.   Those ‘germs’ aren’t going to ‘get’ you.  Actually, the germ theory we were all taught in school is not really true.  Just because you are exposed to a particular microbe does not mean you will present with that disease.  If it were true, we would be sick all the time because we are constantly exposed to millions of microbes on a daily basis.  Your immune system is the factor not included in the germ theory.  If you have a good immune response when contacting these microbes, you fight them off.  Wise people try to keep their systems in top notch fighting condition.  It is easier to maintain good health than to recover it when it is lost.