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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Home arrow Blog arrow DISINFECTANTS CAN INCREASE INFECTION POSSIBILITY
DISINFECTANTS CAN INCREASE INFECTION POSSIBILITY
Microbiology October 2008, 154; 3144-3153
I've written before about the problems relating to overuse of disinfectants. If you were to blindly follow the directions of television commercials you'd be spraying, wiping, and smearing these chemicals all over your house and yourself all the time. This is a bad idea on a number of levels.

Many people react to chemicals in their environment. These reactions can be headaches, nausea, anxiety, nervousness, and insomnia, to name a few. Because these chemicals are so prevalent around us it can be difficult to know what you are reacting to. Another problem is of course the issue of antibiotic resistance. This is the situation whereby a bacterium becomes resistant to antibiotics due to overuse causing the growth of only the bacteria that can survive the antibiotic overuse.

This study in the journal Microbiology, talks about low levels of biocides. These are chemicals that are used in disinfectants and antiseptics to kill microbes. What they discovered was that these chemicals can actually make bacteria stronger. In particular, the potentially deadly bacterium Staphylococcus aureus was made stronger and more resistant to being killed by antibiotics. This is particularly problematic as we are already having severe problems with drug-resistant Staph aureus.

It's pretty common for biocides to be used in cleaning hospitals and home environments. If lower levels are used, the bacteria can survive and become resistant to treatment. Researchers exposed S. aureus taken from the blood of patients to low concentrations of several biocides. Exposure to low concentrations of a variety of biocides resulted in the appearance of resistant Staph strains.

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