Daily News Archive
From April 5, 2001

Germany Calls to Stop Use of Antibacterial Cleansers

According to Environmental Data Service Daily, German environment minister Jürgen Trittin called on consumers not to use cleaning agents containing anti-bacterial agents and on industry to stop marketing and advertising the antibacterial qualities of their products. At a press conference, Mr. Trittin said, "The use of...anti-bacterial cleaners in households is superfluous and risky" and he appealed to industry to stop suggesting to consumers that they were "surrounded by enemy germs which they had to fight aggressively."

Professor Daschner, an environmental hygiene specialist at the Freiburg University Clinic said that most so-called anti-bacterial cleaners were ineffective. "The germs in our clinic would laugh themselves to death." He claimed that using these antibacterials in clinics also carried the danger of spreading resistance in microbial populations. In addition, tests on anti-bacterial washing up liquids had shown that they did not reduce the numbers of germs compared with regular washing up liquid.

A similar presentation was made last year at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases, on July 17, 2000, when Dr. Stuart Levy, a microbiologist and physician at the Tufts University School of Medicine, insisted that the widespread use of antibacterial products should be eliminated. At the conference, Dr. Levy explained that bacteria are a natural and needed part of human life. Dousing our living environments with antibacterial soaps can upset the balance of microorganisms, leaving behind only the strongest, most developed strains of bacteria. "By encouraging the unnatural selection of bacteria that have grown immune to most, if not all, of today's antibiotics, we unwittingly endanger global health." See the August 2000 Issue of Technical Report (Vol. 15, No. 8).