FDA to Require Proof That Antibacterial Soaps Are Safe
December 16, 2013 1:50 PM   Subscribe

 
Well, they're not safe for bacteria...
posted by inturnaround at 1:51 PM on December 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


The proposal was applauded by public health experts, who for years have urged the agency to regulate antimicrobial chemicals, warning that they risk, among other things, scrambling hormones in children and promoting drug-resistant infections.

Given the mounting evidence of the critical role microbes play in keeping us healthy (including skin microbes), this is a very good thing. I hope it leads to a lot of these products being pulled off the market.
posted by ryanshepard at 1:58 PM on December 16, 2013 [37 favorites]


So the industry is concerned about this because they sell so much anti-bacterial soap... but if it's outlawed, do they think that people will just stop buying soap altogether? Just sell regular soap, FFS.

And why did this take so long? Doctors have been talking about this for years and years...

That's rhetorical, we all know why.
posted by Huck500 at 2:00 PM on December 16, 2013 [10 favorites]


Announcements in FDA's Consumer Updates and press release for the proposed rule.
posted by zennie at 2:01 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is good news.

But if they're really worried about resistant bugs then even a complete ban will likely not make a huge dent until they also deal with the massive overuse of antibiotics both in human medicine and in factory farming of animals.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 2:02 PM on December 16, 2013 [15 favorites]


If you like your soap, you can keep your soap.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:03 PM on December 16, 2013 [20 favorites]


Cue the paranoid anti-government freak out. First they took our light bulbs, now our soap. Where does it end?
posted by octothorpe at 2:04 PM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Obviously, the Pro-bacteria lobby has made some serious headway here...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 2:04 PM on December 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


There are already changes being made in human medicine -- my clinic won't routinely prescribe antibiotics for ear infections or sinus infections any more, for example. I mean, they will if there are strong signs that an intractable bacterial infection is present, but they don't hand out amoxicillin and Z-packs at the first sign of trouble.
posted by KathrynT at 2:05 PM on December 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Well, they're not safe for bacteria...

And many forms of bacteria are crucially important to human health as science has by now pretty conclusively shown, but a lot of people don't know that yet and aren't really comfortable with so much nuance anyway and will want to stock up on face masks.

So invest in face masks.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:07 PM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


But if they're really worried about resistant bugs then even a complete ban will likely not make a huge dent until they also deal with the massive overuse of antibiotics both in human medicine and in factory farming of animals.

Good news, then! From the article: The F.D.A.'s move followed another last week that would phase out the use of antibiotics in animals raised for meat

Anyway, it sounds like this is as much about the potential endocrine-disrupting side-effects of triclosan and triclocarban specifically, in addition to the issue of overall antibiotic overuse.
posted by pie ninja at 2:07 PM on December 16, 2013 [12 favorites]


But if they're really worried about resistant bugs then even a complete ban will likely not make a huge dent until they also deal with the massive overuse of antibiotics both in human medicine and in factory farming of animals.

Dec. 11, 2013: F.D.A. Restricts Antibiotics Use for Livestock
posted by gurple at 2:07 PM on December 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


"But if they're really worried about resistant bugs then even a complete ban will likely not make a huge dent until they also deal with the massive overuse of antibiotics both in human medicine and in factory farming of animals."

Something that is important to note is that the problem of drug resistance is an entirely separate issue. These are chemicals that would not make effective antibiotics for internal use and resistance to them would be a trivial thing for a bug to gain.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:08 PM on December 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Thinking about germ-phobic American consumer culture is reminding me of all the research on international aid projects to increase toilet usage in South Asia and what it means to change hygiene habits in a fecal-phobic culture.

I'm always surprised at how many people I know use those hand sanitizers, despite not growing up with anti-bacterial everything.
posted by spamandkimchi at 2:11 PM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


The FDA isn't just concerned with bacterial resistance. From the 4th paragraph of the link:
Some studies in animals have shown that the chemicals, triclosan in liquid soaps and triclocarban in bar soaps, can lead to the early onset of puberty and the disruption of metabolism and fertility, and health experts warn that their effects could be the same in humans.
posted by muddgirl at 2:11 PM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also this is going to be a hard slog I assume, even setting the "ZOMG government regulatory overreach is taking away our freeeeedom" fears, because going from a simple story of "germs make us sick" which is still reinforced by posted injunctions that "ALL employees must wash their hands" to a more complex story that "well, we co-evolved with germs and also some of the chemicals we use have adverse affects so we should moderate our usage of these...." is going to get fuzzy.

I need to start following more science education/public engagement folks. The importance of communicating science to a lay public is so huge and critical but "Public Science 2.0" is still in its infancy it seems.
posted by spamandkimchi at 2:21 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Whenever I would teach intro to microbiology classes one of the things that would surprise my students the most (aside from the concentrations of fecal bacteria on their belt buckles) would be the results they got back the next day on Petri dishes they made thumb prints on before and after washing their hands. They would almost always see much more bacteria after hand washing than before. This is because the primary way in which hand washing affects our skin is by physically removing the oils and dead epithelial cells that coats our skin along with the transient bacteria we pick up from dirt or the dramatically insufficient barrier that toilet paper makes. This action ends up exposing the resident bacteria that lives naturally within our skin that tends to be much more abundant. So the results they would see would show a greater number of bacteria with less diversity, sampling from one environment as opposed to the many that undergrads touch on a daily basis, after hand washing. The use of soap would have a very small but noticeable additional effect on both counts, and the use of some antibacterial compounds would slightly but significantly reduce the amount of surviving resident flora without affecting transient flora, which roughly follows the scientific consensus. In a residential context there is really no defensible reason why companies should be able to market antibacterial soaps the way they do with the clear lack of evidence of any genuinely hygienic effect, even regardless of doubts about safety.

Good information about what hand washing means for most people can be found here.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:25 PM on December 16, 2013 [43 favorites]


Something that is important to note is that the problem of drug resistance is an entirely separate issue. These are chemicals that would not make effective antibiotics for internal use and resistance to them would be a trivial thing for a bug to gain.

I'm interested in this point, as the article says that one of the reasons for this action is that the chemicals promote drug resistant infections. Could you explain a bit more or point me to I feel like I've always been under the impression that the reason, say, MRSA, is so antibiotic resistant is because it's evolved in hospitals which are particularly sterile environments.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:26 PM on December 16, 2013


I just started reading Spillover on the bus this morning, and then when I got off the bus I sneezed like three, four times, and now there's this. I just hope that, whatever I've got, they actually do name it after me: "James virus". Imagine ten million people dying of that. Ha ha ha! Losers!
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:28 PM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Does this mean it will no longer be an Epic Quest to purchase one of those economy-sized liquid soap refill things in non-antibacterial?

Fucking Duane Reade and Rite Aid and so on hide that shit and reorder it rarely if they run out. Every time I have to buy a new one, it takes like three stores to find it and by the end I'm falling to my knees and yelling I JUST WANT TO WASH MY HANDS to the indifferent sky.
posted by griphus at 2:29 PM on December 16, 2013 [21 favorites]


I'm going to establish a rapport with my inner miceobiotic culture, I'll keep yiu guys well fed and healthy and you guys keep out any organisms not down with the whole Keeping Me Alive thing.
posted by The Whelk at 2:31 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I could listen to New Yorkers complain about Duane Reade all day.
posted by phaedon at 2:31 PM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Whelk, don't get too chummy.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:34 PM on December 16, 2013


Also, there is a difference between antibacterial soaps, in which the active ingredient is triclosan, and products like Purell, in which the active ingredient is alcohol.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 2:37 PM on December 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


You can't drink the first kind?
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:39 PM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Can't" is such a restrictive word.
posted by delfin at 2:40 PM on December 16, 2013 [15 favorites]


OOooooooh don't take my Dr. Bronner's awayeeeeeeh.




oh, looks like that's not going to happen anytime soon...
posted by alex_skazat at 2:48 PM on December 16, 2013


There's nothing wrong with hand sanitizers, according to the NRDC.
posted by Ideefixe at 2:50 PM on December 16, 2013


(aside from the concentrations of fecal bacteria on their belt buckles)

I genuinely do not understand
posted by forgetful snow at 2:51 PM on December 16, 2013


Also, there is a difference between antibacterial soaps, in which the active ingredient is triclosan, and products like Purell, in which the active ingredient is alcohol.

Indeed, I don't know why alcohol isn't more popular for wipes, it feels so nice and cool!

I don't know about the US, but here in Australia, triclosan is also a major ingredient in many toothpastes (most notably colgate "total"). I brushed my teeth with that sheet for many years, god help me.
posted by smoke at 2:51 PM on December 16, 2013


I genuinely do not understand

I would assume it occurs because people must lower their pants to poop which requires unbuckling their belts. Then they pull up their pants and rebuckle their belts in the stall before washing their hands. So there would be a bunch of fecal material on the top of their pants and on their belts because those are the places they most often touch after dropping some friends off at the pool but before hand-washing.

Moral of the story: buckle up after you wash your hands.
posted by Justinian at 2:56 PM on December 16, 2013


(aside from the concentrations of fecal bacteria on their belt buckles)

I genuinely do not understand


You're in a public bathroom. You relieve yourself. You wipe yourself. Even with toilet paper in hand, your hand is in a Fresh Poop Zone. (Band name claimed, by the way.)

Now, do you pull your pants up and fasten them before or after you go to the sink ten feet away?
posted by delfin at 2:56 PM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Blasdelb: Something that is important to note is that the problem of drug resistance is an entirely separate issue. These are chemicals that would not make effective antibiotics for internal use and resistance to them would be a trivial thing for a bug to gain."

Lutoslawski: "I'm interested in this point, as the article says that one of the reasons for this action is that the chemicals promote drug resistant infections. Could you explain a bit more or point me to I feel like I've always been under the impression that the reason, say, MRSA, is so antibiotic resistant is because it's evolved in hospitals which are particularly sterile environments."
Antibiotics are so useful because they are compounds that are more toxic to the bacteria attacking us than they are to us. For example, while bleach is really really effective at being toxic to bacteria, it would not be a good antibiotic because it is also pretty darn toxic to us. In a very rough sense, how good an antibiotic is depends on its effectiveness, as generally abstracted by its Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) or the lowest concentration of the stuff necessary to stop the growth of the bacteria in question, versus its toxicity to us measured in approximate LD50, or the concentration that is likely to kill half your patients. Antibiotics are able to be differently toxic by taking advantage of differences between bacteria and us, and there are indeed depressingly few. These days, most antibiotics work by taking advantage of the fact that bacterial ribosomes are pretty different from ours and work by acting as a monkey wrench that messes up theirs but doesn’t fit into ours. Membrane synthesis also works pretty differently and so many others work by fucking up some aspect of making new membranes that bacteria have but we don’t. There are also some pretty neat antibiotics that target things like differences in DNA synthesis, central metabolism, and a few others.

Bacteria gain resistance to antibiotics in all sorts of crazy ways like re-purposing molecular pumps on the outside of the cell to very efficiently keep concentrations of antibiotic in the cell to very low levels compared to the outside, increasing the MIC to non-useful levels, or changing the system that the antibiotic attacks so that the assaulted part is no longer needed or is no longer sensitive, or by just re-purposing a system to degrade the antibiotic. This happens by normal processes of evolution and selection, as bacteria create diversity through largely random processes and then successful mutations get selected for by the very strong adaptive pressure that antibiotics apply. So when you expose a large enough population to an antibiotic a resistant mutant will emerge eventually. This is why new antibiotics have always had their first resistant mutants isolated within a few years. On top of this, once a resistant mutant appears in one bacterial species, the DNA sequences responsible for the resistance can easily be transferred onto plasmids or bacteriophages that then spread the resistance to other species. MRSA first evolved in hospitals because that is where people sick with Staph aureus infections go. When people got infections that could not be treated effectively with antibiotics, they then stayed in hospitals where they could then infect others. The sterility of hospitals has separately however likely contributed to the spread of pathogenic Staph, both drug resistant and otherwise, through the elimination of protective strains of Staph.

Triclosan is less of a concern for resistance because it is generally some pretty nasty shit. It attacks bacteria from a whole bunch of different pathways that just happen to be slightly less nasty for us and less of a concern with a skin barrier. The current controvery about its topical use aside, the things that make it a very good biocide also make it a bad antibiotic, you really couldn't use it internally. There are significant theoretical concerns that overuse of Triclosan could lead to somehow Triclosan resistant strains, that would then have an impact on the limited clinical uses for it, but they lack the immediacy of concerns about much more valuable antibiotics with narrower mechanisms of action.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:59 PM on December 16, 2013 [15 favorites]


I always shuffle out of the stall with my pants around my ankles and my hands well away from my body. The first person I see in the bathroom, I say, "I NEED HELLLLLP".
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:00 PM on December 16, 2013 [23 favorites]


Now, do you pull your pants up and fasten them before or after you go to the sink ten feet away?

And this is why I do not wear pants.
posted by daq at 3:03 PM on December 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


You're in a public bathroom. You relieve yourself. You wipe yourself. Even with toilet paper in hand, your hand is in a Fresh Poop Zone. (Band name claimed, by the way.)

Now, do you pull your pants up and fasten them before or after you go to the sink ten feet away?


Not only that, but like cellphones, we never wash our belt buckles.
posted by Evilspork at 3:05 PM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I figure if I've survived this long as a living conduit of bathroom bacteria I should be fine.

But wash your hands, seriously, it's just a good habit.
posted by The Whelk at 3:06 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Blasdelb: "(aside from the concentrations of fecal bacteria on their belt buckles)"

forgetful snow: "I genuinely do not understand"
It often took students a moment before at least one of them would look down in horror and then look around at their classmates with a truly priceless gaze of fear and disgust, but think about the hand washing steps you take after pooping. You finish wiping, you pull up your pants, you fasten your belt, and THEN you wash your hands. At this point I would always ask for volunteers with belts starting with myself, inoculate the same plate with everyone's swabs so we'd all have plausible deniability, and then the next day there would always be evidence of poop remnants from someone.

God I miss teaching.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:07 PM on December 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


So blasdelb - I've always wondered, if bleach is so toxic to us, is it really safe to be used in pools and sanitizing products and suchlike?
posted by XMLicious at 3:11 PM on December 16, 2013


Metafilter: poop remnants from someone.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:12 PM on December 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, actually having to tell the student busy spraying their junk with laboratory ethanol, which we used to disinfect lab benches, to knock that shit right out if only because they were next to an open flame? PRICELESS
posted by Blasdelb at 3:13 PM on December 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


This is a recent topic of study for me, as my stepfather ( who is 85 and increasingly frail) is suffering with an incidence of MRSA on his leg. Luckily, it was caught early but, man, that's some insistent stuff. They've just put him on a nauseatingly expensive antibiotic to see if they can get better traction.

I know it's hard (and imperative) to link cause and effect, but I think the argument being made by more and more people that modern Americans may live in too sterile an environment for their own good makes sense. Coupled with the overprescription and misuse of antibiotics, it's potentially a recipe for disaster. If nothing else, this seems like a prudent move on the part of the FDA.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:13 PM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Toxic is just a function of dose, though, right? So many substances are toxic if the dose is large enough. So bleach in a pool versus drinking it or whatever is just a function of dilution.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:14 PM on December 16, 2013


So I guess I'm washing my belt buckles now. Congratulations, you invented a new unpleasant chore.
posted by davejay at 3:14 PM on December 16, 2013 [10 favorites]


Sorry what did I miss? I left the thread and have been swabbing my belt buckles with alcohol for the past 15 minutes.
posted by danny the boy at 3:21 PM on December 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


I can live with having to wash my belt buckles. It's having to wash my hands before and after that's bumming me out.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:23 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


YOU ARE ALL COVERED IN SHIT AND ALWAYS HAVE BEEN GET USED TO IT.

Don't make me mention eyebrow mites.
posted by The Whelk at 3:24 PM on December 16, 2013 [20 favorites]


Suddenly never wearing a belt has gone from a fashion faux pas to a hygiene virtue. Whee!
posted by ambrosia at 3:26 PM on December 16, 2013


Those celebrating not wearing belts: you do still wear something right? Underwear, pantyhose, a skirt, shorts, skorts, a fluffy penguin onesie etc?

Basically the only solution is to be nude and covered in a thin layer of non-antibiotic hand soap at all times.
posted by fight or flight at 3:30 PM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]




If I were a dude, kilts would be looking awesome right now.
posted by ambrosia at 3:31 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is why we have immune systems. This germa-phobic crap really bugs me. Raw chicken is a biohazard according to some. Keep stuff reasonably clean and you will be fine.

Shit is a big part of life, just deal with it. Being squeamish doesn't help, just be reasonably clean and quit with the chemicals.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 3:31 PM on December 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Suddenly never wearing a belt has gone from a fashion faux pas to a hygiene virtue. Whee!

(minor fashion derail, if you're a man wearing a suit with your pants at your natural waistline then wearing a belt would be a huge faux pas. It would mean your suit isn't frittered properly.)
posted by The Whelk at 3:31 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


"So blasdelb - I've always wondered, if bleach is so toxic to us, is it really safe to be used in pools and sanitizing products and suchlike?"

As Paracelsus once said, "All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; only the dose permits something not to be poisonous," or more commonly, "the dose makes the poison." If you were to end up with the concentration of bleach necessary to be effective against bacteria in you, you would be in a hell of a lot of trouble. Bleach works by being incredibly unfriendly to living systems in a whole bunch of different ways, like oxidizing the fuck out of most anything sensitive to biological chemistry, that are about as unfriendly to our cells as they are to bacterial ones. Our skin, and its layer of dead cells, pretty handily protects of from the dilute concentrations that are still effective in things like pools and sanitizing products. Bleach can also be a pretty effective and relatively safe, if inadvisable over the long term, home water sanitation system if used in careful dilute amounts as with your gastric mucosal layer you end up bleaching your stomach contents more than your stomach.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:31 PM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


We have to get started on the counter-meme:

Triclosan was robbing REAL AMERICANS of their precious bodily fluids and feminizing them, all because of a Satanic/Obamic Procter and Gamble plot. The plot was only foiled because of the sequester shutting down the FDA while Tea Party Patriots saved the day.
posted by benzenedream at 3:33 PM on December 16, 2013


...until they also deal with the massive overuse of antibiotics both in human medicine and in factory farming of animals.

I live smack in the middle of agricountry and this is pretty big news around here. As noted above they are making a dent in this. It's interesting to hear from farmers how few of them actually do use antibiotics.

I recently attended a mini-lecture by a turkey farmer and she was up in arms about the organic industry and their "misleading labeling." I thought, "Well, this is going to get interesting." She says, "Organic farmers put antibiotic and hormone free on their labels as though this is a selling point. Well, ALL turkey is hormone free. It's not something turkey farmers use." I thought, "Huh," and went about my day. Later it occurred to me that this is like when Gumi worms puts "fat free" on their products. I've even seen this as "naturally fat free." Well, so shit, it's sugar. The FDA put a stop to that.

Anyway, latest proposal would require a vet prescription to get antibiotics for livestock. We'll see if it gets traction.
posted by cjorgensen at 3:33 PM on December 16, 2013


You're in a public bathroom. You relieve yourself. You wipe yourself.

The trick to public bathrooms is using your booted feet for everything.

Everything.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:33 PM on December 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


jeff-o-matic: "This is why we have immune systems. This germa-phobic crap really bugs me."

I eat raw chicken and kiss every dog.

But I also like, wash my clothes if they have shit on them.

Bro do you even launder
posted by danny the boy at 3:34 PM on December 16, 2013


The safer it is the less it does.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 3:36 PM on December 16, 2013


I'm very glad about this. I refuse to buy antibacterial liquid soap, and there is usually only ONE kind of available, out of a whole aisle of antibacterial soaps. Which is just as well, because usually it's Ivory, which is fine, and I don't like smelly stuff in my soap anyway. But still.
posted by BrashTech at 3:36 PM on December 16, 2013


Washing your hands before buckling your belt wouldn't make a difference I think.
It's mostly the flushing that appears to be the problem. From the Mythbusters Database entry for the toothbrush episode:
"Every time you flush a toilet, it releases an aerosol spray of tiny tainted water droplets.
[...]
Astonishingly, all the toothbrushes were speckled with microscopic fecal matter, including the ones that had never seen the inside of a bathroom. The confirmed myth unfortunately proved that there's indeed fecal matter on toothbrushes — and also everywhere else."
So the better solution would be to flush with the lid closed but that could quite literally backfire because you wouldn't be able to watch for and respond to clogs. Plus you wouldn't get to watch your poop being flushed.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 3:37 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Finally, all natural girly exfoliating soap is the reasonable and sensible option....

I'm gotta get skin my so smooth you guys.
posted by The Whelk at 3:38 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Basically the only solution is to be nude and covered in a thin layer of non-antibiotic hand soap at all times.

This has been a preview of Lady Gaga's next album.
posted by delfin at 3:44 PM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


If you really want to see scary things about aerosols from flushing toilets, the biggest worry is that they can spread SARS.
posted by ambrosen at 3:45 PM on December 16, 2013


Three shells, man. Three shells.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:46 PM on December 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


> Astonishingly, all the toothbrushes were speckled with microscopic fecal matter, including the ones that had never seen the inside of a bathroom. The confirmed myth unfortunately proved that there's indeed fecal matter on toothbrushes

But does it matter? Yeah, it sounds gross, but is it actually a health risk for those of us with robust immune systems?
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:48 PM on December 16, 2013


Finally, all natural girly exfoliating soap is the reasonable and sensible option

Unless by exfoliating you mean the kind with little scrubbies that you can feel.
posted by sageleaf at 3:50 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


The trick to public bathrooms is using your booted feet for everything.

Everything.


Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a fat guy friendly Yoga class?
posted by DigDoug at 3:57 PM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


The corpse in the library: "But does it matter?"

That's sort of the point... it really doesn't. Trying to create a sanitized environment is a losing proposition (with the exception of some tightly controlled environments such as operating rooms) and it does appear to do more harm than good to even try.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 4:01 PM on December 16, 2013


Thanks Blasdelb! Helpful as always.
posted by Lutoslawski at 4:22 PM on December 16, 2013


For the record the FDA recommended that agriculture corporations consider phasing out antibiotics in livestock feed for only one of two indications that they are currently used for, with no deadline or penalty for ignoring them.

So...it doesn't change anything.
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 4:33 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've always wanted to make an FPP about this song, but this seems like as good a place as any to just leave it like an easter egg from hell.

Some little bug is going to get you someday . . . Bradley Kincaid (1933)

(Song has a great history.)


In these days of indigestion it is oftentimes a question
As to what to eat and what to leave alone.
Every microbe and bacillus has a different way to kill us
And in time they all will claim us for their own.
There are germs of every kind in every food that you can find
In the market or upon the bill of fare.
Drinking water's just as risky as the so-called "deadly" whiskey
And it's often a mistake to breathe the air.

For some little bug is going to get you someday.
Some little bug will creep behind you someday.
Then he'll send for his bug friends
And all your troubles they will end,
For some little bug is gonna find you someday.

The inviting green cucumber, it's most everybody's number
While sweetcorn has a system of its own.
Now, that radish seems nutritious, but its behavior is quite vicious
And a doctor will be coming to your home.
Eating lobster, cooked or plain, is only flirting with ptomaine,
While an oyster often has a lot to say.
And those clams we eat in chowder make the angels sing the louder
For they know that they'll be with us right away.


More lyrics . . . .
posted by spitbull at 4:38 PM on December 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


If you think this is a good idea, consider tossing the NRDC a couple of bucks. They made this happen.
Federal regulators started to look at the chemicals in the 1970s, with the F.D.A. first creating regulations to control them in 1978. But very little has been done since, public health advocates complain, partly because of agency slowness but also because of industry lobbying. The Natural Resources Defense Council, frustrated by the inaction, filed a lawsuit in 2010 to force the agency to issue a final rule. Mae Wu, a lawyer with the council, said that under a settlement signed with the F.D.A. last month, the agency committed to taking final action by 2016.
posted by zamboni at 4:50 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I never liked using antibacterial soap because it only kills the weak ones.
posted by double block and bleed at 4:55 PM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've been eating these soaps for years, and I've hever nad a problem.
posted by uosuaq at 4:59 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fucking Duane Reade and Rite Aid and so on hide that shit and reorder it rarely if they run out. Every time I have to buy a new one, it takes like three stores to find it and by the end I'm falling to my knees and yelling I JUST WANT TO WASH MY HANDS to the indifferent sky.

They make such a thing?

Do you have a brand-name?

Enquiring minds want to know!
posted by madajb at 5:12 PM on December 16, 2013


At least two of the more than 40 strains of MRSA apparently came from cows.

And a strain of MRSA ideally adapted to spread in hospitals would need both biocide and antibiotic resistance even if the two properties were completely independent (they aren't always: "Biocides and antibiotics may show some similarities in their mechanisms of action and common mechanisms of bacterial insusceptibility may apply, but there are also major differences"), so you would expect to see hospital-incubated strains with both.

I was surprised to see triclosan touted as a new and effective systemic treatment for malaria by Indian researchers some years ago, but nothing much seems to have come of it.
posted by jamjam at 5:32 PM on December 16, 2013


They make such a thing?

It was CVS this last time.
posted by griphus at 6:14 PM on December 16, 2013


fuck I bought antibacterial soap
posted by griphus at 6:15 PM on December 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


turbid dahlia: " The trick to public bathrooms is using your booted feet for everything."

Every time I see the woman in the next stall use her goddamn foot to flush the toilet, I have a flash of "I hope you slip and break your skull." The sole of your shoe is filthy. Thanks ever so much for rubbing it on the flush lever. You're so fastidious, wad up a couple of layers of tissue and use that to flush. Then wash your damn hands.

(I compared notes with my cube-mate today. Not that either one of us actively keeps track of it, but we both feel we've noticed a correlation between "flushes toilet with foot" and "doesn't wash hands adequately/at all".)
posted by Lexica at 7:15 PM on December 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


People looking for a non-antibacterial hand soap -- if you have a Target store within reasonable distance, go there and purchase one of these. Non-fragranced, no antibacterial ingredients, just good ol' soap plus some aloe vera, and I think it's like 5 bucks for an enormous bottle.
posted by Kat Allison at 7:17 PM on December 16, 2013


I long for the return of the finest soap in history to our nation's restrooms.

For when 19 mules just will not do.
posted by helicomatic at 7:21 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


It occurred to me this morning that my feckless fecal fear mongering is probably the closest I'll ever get to accepting my gay birthright as fashion forward. Oh well.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:33 AM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: my feckless fecal fear mongering is probably the closest I'll ever get to accepting my gay birthright
posted by Renoroc at 4:44 AM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hospital where I work one day decided to replace every single soap dispenser with one containing antibiotic soaps. The same week, they posted an informational poster in each bathroom warning us about the horrors of drug resistant bacteria. Yay irony.

And companies put triclosan in fucking toothpaste? Jesus Christ.

Anyway it's nice to see the FDA trying to do something useful finally; now if they would just do something about the spurious claims on herbal supplements...
posted by caution live frogs at 5:27 AM on December 17, 2013


I've tried to avoid the stuff when I can for years (though it's inescapable in public bathrooms and in other people's houses) after I read an article about creating resistant bacteria. I'm glad to finally see some pushback on this finally.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:52 AM on December 17, 2013


You're in a public bathroom. You relieve yourself. You wipe yourself.


You're in a public bathroom.

> Use bathroom

You relieve yourself. You wipe yourself.

> Wash hands

You stand and awkwardly shuffle over to the sink with your pants around your ankles. After washing your hands thoroughly, you activate the hand dryer with your elbow and dry your hands.

> Belt pants

I don't know how to do that.

> Lift pants

You take off your pants and lift them over your head. You would resemble a circus strong man lifting a barbell, if that barbell were shaped like pants.

> Buckle pants

You buckle the belt of your pants.

> Look

You're in a public bathroom, lavishly equipped with a toilet, a sink, a mirror and a hand dryer. In the mirror, you can see a half-naked man holding a pair of buckled pants. He looks familiar. An exit door leads east.

The toilet has not been flushed recently.

The sink is wet, as if someone recently washed their hands.

posted by davejay at 9:39 AM on December 17, 2013 [20 favorites]


if you're a man wearing a suit with your pants at your natural waistline then wearing a belt would be a huge faux pas. It would mean your suit isn't frittered properly

Nope. Belts aren't just designed to make up for some sort of flaw; they're also meant to help the clothing stay fast. A perfectly-tailored pair of trousers will still move and shift as you move, and a belt is meant to assist with minimizing the shift.
posted by grubi at 9:43 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Suspenders and a winch then.
posted by The Whelk at 9:51 AM on December 17, 2013


Is it still easy to burn Purell? I haven't tried in a ... ever. Not ever. Never mind.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 9:58 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Suspenders and a winch then.

And a small group of Teamsters. And pulleys.
posted by grubi at 10:11 AM on December 17, 2013


It was CVS this last time.

Hmm, the nearest CVS is about 300 miles away, so that might be out.

We do have a Target though, so maybe I can try there.
posted by madajb at 10:17 AM on December 17, 2013


'Bout fuckin' time.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:31 AM on December 17, 2013


Okay, can I vent here about women who use public toilets as urinals (hovering over rather than sitting upon them) but fail to lift the seat before they do? It's a lot more common than you would think.

I mean, really. Use a piece of TP to lift the thing if you're trying to be all prissypants. Talk about disgusting. Probably the same folks who skip washing too.

(thank you, that's really been weighing on my mind)
posted by kinnakeet at 10:44 AM on December 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Shit is a big part of life, just deal with it. Being squeamish doesn't help, just be reasonably clean and quit with the chemicals.

In fact, people used to have a lot more casual attitude towards feces, with things like chamber pots. Then modern hygene happened, and casual death went way down. So to a degree that squeamishness serves a purpose.

Thread soundtrack

Now I'm imagining--
Music from a nightmare cavern world, where great brown stalagtites hang down from a thankfully-unseen ceiling, filled with huge blind insects like a cross between horseshoe crabs and trilobites that squirm and wrestle among a million years' worth of residue.... ugh....
That's some Lovecraft shit stuff right there. Sometimes I think I'm too imaginative for my own good.
posted by JHarris at 1:23 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just want to say that this thread provided my username.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:09 AM on December 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


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