Antibacterial Products: A Silent Disaster Essay

1255 words - 6 pages

"If something has a benefit, and no harms, then you should likely use it. But if something has no benefits and potentially real harms, then you shouldn’t. The latter is the case with antibacterial products". (Carroll par. 1) The users of antibacterial products do not realize the harms of such, harms which overpower the benefits. When the first antibacterial product, Penicillin, was invented in 1928 it was called a miracle. (Online Textbook of Bacteriology pgs. 1-4) Deaths and illness were exponentially reduced, and penicillin saved countless lives during World War 2. By the 70s there were many types of antibiotics, thus we thought we had “won the war against bacteria”. We had cured major ...view middle of the document...

(MDH p. 1) Second, 80% of today’s antibiotics are being used on factory farm animals so they can live through inhuman conditions and grow unnaturally fat. However, the waste from these animals contain antibiotics which is ending up in our fertilizers, crops, streams, and dirt. (Eyes of Nye) The food we are eating is tinged antibiotics and resistant bacteria, both of which are getting absorbed into our systems. (Meat without Drugs) Some think that antibiotics are only malicious at “low levels”, and are beneficial to animals and us. They say that animal products are safer and affordable because of antibiotics and antibiotics “promote growth and health of animals and the abundance”. (Smith p. 1) However, we can’t excuse that animals aren’t being fed “low levels” of antibiotics as 18000 tons of antibiotics were fed to animals last year. We must get informed and know that the poultry we eat are tinged with chemicals and superbugs.
We, ourselves, are facing problems with antibacterial products from superbugs and Triclosan. Superbugs are developing in relation to our overuse of antibiotics, and Triclosan (from antibacterial soap) is causing unsettling side-effects. Side-effects by Triclosan are caused by it interfering with a body’s thyroid hormone metabolism (life-sustaining chemical regulation). This causes our immune system to weaken, birth defects, infertility, and cancer cells. (Beyond Pesticides p. 1; FDA s. 1-3) The bigger issue might be the overuse of antibiotics throughout the last century. When a bacteria survives antibiotics it become a superbug, a resistant bacteria that is hard on the immune system and immune to antibiotics. These superbugs our costing our hospitals resources by causing longer hospital stays and higher fatality rates. The CDC recently confirmed that superbugs are globally present. (CDC p. 1) On the other hand, some are saying that instead of decreasing the use of antibiotics, we should increase their availability. In fact, they state that antibiotics should be given with just a simple urine test. This would reduce the harms of diseases like Chlamydia and lower infertility rates. However, we cannot hand out more antibiotics because some people will experience less syndromes, in the long-term more superbugs would be in our environment.
With all these superbugs and antibacterial chemicals in our environment, we should also question the effectiveness of anti-bacterial products. A majority of antibiotics prescribed last year were not necessary, but were issued to treat viruses like the common cold. Antibiotics are used to treat bacteria, not viruses, and viruses make up a majority of modern diseases. (Eyes of Nye) One should also question the effectiveness of antibacterial soap compared to plain soap. The main difference between antibacterial and plain soap is their method. Plain soap washes bacteria away while antibacterial soap uses chemicals to kill the bacteria on the hand. (Carroll p. 1). However, others...

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