Too Clean?

News Note

By Editorial Staff

Originally published in Massage & Bodywork magazine, October/November 2000.

The word is out, and it’s that we might be too clean. Tufts University microbiologist Dr. Stuart Levy recently told the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases that our use of antibacterial soaps and cleansers, as well as our consistent intake of antibiotic medications might be promoting the growth of drug resistant “superbugs.” According to Reuters (July, 2000), Levy said traditional cleansers — soap and hot water, alcohol, chlorine bleach and hydrogen peroxide — are “sufficient for most purposes.” The exception, he said, is if someone in the home is seriously ill or is having immune problems. Levy cited an Italian study that found that being exposed to bacteria is critical to an infant’s developing immune system. “Bacteria are a natural and needed part of life,” Levy said.