Well, the last hints of the festive season and 2016 have been well and truly packed away for yet another year. The summer beach days of fun with the kids are over, and very soon the kids of all shapes and sizes will start heading back off to day-care, kindy or school.
But, the tricky question remains the same year in year out. How do you avoid the lab experiment that your little ones bring home daily on their hands of ‘germs and bugs’?
Now for many of us, the daily rituals of washing your family’s hands with antibacterial soaps, bathing them in antibacterial body washes, heck even using antibacterial washing powders and floor cleaner have been the answer to killing off those nasty germs. Or have they?
Well, one thing is for sure, our obsession with killing off pesky germs using soaps and other products spawned a multi-billion dollar business globally. In September 2016, The U.S. Food & Drug Administration ruled to ban 19 ingredients used in the marketing of many antibacterial soaps, after concluding that the risks outweigh the benefits and were not safe for long-term daily use.
So, What’s All the Fuss About?
After extensive testing of the claims made by various antibacterial product manufacturers, the FDA had this to say. “Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water,” FDA drug evaluation and research director Janet Woodcock outlined in a written document. She went on to say “That washing with plain soap and running water” remains one of the most important steps consumers can take to avoid getting sick and to prevent spreading germs to others.”
“If soap and water are not available and a consumer uses hand sanitiser instead, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that it be an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.”
What Changes Might We See in New Zealand And Australia?
The FDA ingredients ban affects 2,100 products or roughly 40 percent of the over-the-counter antibacterial soap market in the USA alone. The ruling, it must be said, does not affect alcohol-based hand sanitisers or wipes, or antibacterial products used in hospitals and clinics.
Australian and New Zealand governments are yet to issue their ruling, but many large retailers & manufacturers in both countries have already taken steps to remove these ingredients from their product lines, which is good news.
One of the main offending ingredients is Triclocarban and the widely used Triclosan – commonly used in many types of antibacterial soaps, toothpaste, mouthwashes, acne medications, deodorants, detergents, and cosmetics. Since 1978, health experts globally expressed growing concern linking these ingredients and their interference with children’s hormones and promoting antibacterial resistant bacteria. This ruling has taken 38 years of activism, and a lawsuit before the FDA finally saw the light in September 2016.
“It has boggled my mind why we were clinging to these compounds,” said Rolf Halden, a scientist at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, who has been tracking the issue for years. “They have absolutely no benefit, but we kept them buzzing around us everywhere.”
Sally Gaw, environmental chemist and Canterbury University senior lecturer is one of many New Zealand and Australian scientists who supports the FDA ban and actively calling on respective country’s governments also ban these ingredients had this to say; “It can affect hormone function, damage the liver and kidneys and is a suspected carcinogen”.
Personally, I think, Mae Wu, a senior attorney, involved in the lawsuit that won the FDA ban sums up this ‘dirty little secret’ the best… “We call it stupid uses of toxic chemicals.” adding “There’s no reason to do it, and you could be hurting yourself and your family in the process.”
So, what are some natural antibacterial alternative for your family, that don’t contain all those “stupid” … “toxic chemicals.”
Natural Antibacterial Solutions For Your Whole Family
We are blessed living in New Zealand and Australia, with some of the strongest antibacterial natural ingredients in the world readily available.
- Manuka Oil and Kanuka Oil (NZ Tea Tree Oil): Both these oils have incredibly powerful antibacterial, antifungal and anti-viral properties. For centuries both have been used in New Zealand as healing agents to treat everything from wounds, infections, inflammation, to tummy troubles and skin irritations.
- Australian Tea Tree Oil: Is native to Australia’s east coast and is part of the ‘myrtle family’ of plants which includes Manuka & Kanuka and even Eucalyptus. It is also highly antifungal, antiseptic, antibacterial and antiviral. In WW2, Tree Tree oil was standard issue for every soldier to help treat a variety of ailments.
- Manuka Honey: Honey was used by the Egyptians and the Romans to treat wounds and infections.While you won’t be getting your little one’s to clean their hands with honey, it is an excellent healer that can be used on your face, body and for sore throats. It has antibacterial properties that in recent years has seen the creation of highly specialised medical wound healing products.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Commonly known for having antibacterial properties and has been used for years in household cleaning products. You can easily buy this from your local supermarket and make up a spray bottle for the family for washing their hands. Just add a few drops of your favourite essential oil ( Manuka Oil or Clove Oil), and you will know for sure the germs will be gone. You can also use as a simple face toner, or for cleaning your kitchen bench. It is liquid gold.
- Clove Oil: Regarding spices, clove oil ranks highly in antibacterial properties. If you add a few drops of clove oil to apple cider vinegar, you have made a superbly effective antibacterial spray ready to blitz germs away.
If the idea of making something is too much for you, and you’re just looking for a powerful antibacterial wash read- made, there are many great natural products out there. Our Body Wash is antibacterial and able to be used all over and even as a hand wash. We are also working on a new Hand Wash and Hand Sanitizer.
Manuka Biotic Body Wash
Our Body Wash contains certified organic Manuka and Kanuka Essential Oils, known for their powerful antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, which work to keep the body or those grubby little hands clean.
The natural, toxin-free formula is designed to leave your entire body grime free. As we mentioned before the FDA ruling did not apply to hand sanitisers. Ditch the chemicals and use our Body wash as a hand sanitiser or choose from one of the other many great options out there. Here at Manuka HQ, we have put the Body Wash in dispenser pumps for use in the kitchen and all bathrooms.
Glossary of Ingredients Banned by FDA
Here is the full list of ingredients the FDA has banned from all consumer antiseptic wash products:
- Iodine complex (ammonium ether sulfate and polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate)
- Iodine complex (phosphate ester of alkylaryloxy polyethylene glycol)
- Nonylphenoxypoly (ethyleneoxy) ethanoliodine
- Poloxamer-iodine complex
- Povidone-iodine 5 to 10 percent
- Undecoylium chloride iodine complex
- Methylbenzethonium chloride
- Phenol (greater than 1.5 percent)
- Phenol (less than 1.5 percent)
- Secondary amyltricresols
- Sodium oxychlorosene
- Triple dye