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Medicine Science

Being Too Clean Can Make People Sick 333

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-not-vice-versa dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Young people who are overexposed to antibacterial soaps containing triclosan may suffer more allergies, and exposure to higher levels of Bisphenol A among adults may negatively influence the immune system, a new University of Michigan School of Public Health study suggests (abstract, full paper [PDF]). Triclosan is a chemical compound widely used in products such as antibacterial soaps, toothpaste, pens, diaper bags and medical devices. Bisphenol A is found in many plastics and, for example, as a protective lining in food cans. Both of these chemicals are in a class of environmental toxicants called endocrine-disrupting compounds, which are believed to negatively impact human health by mimicking or affecting hormones."
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Being Too Clean Can Make People Sick

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  • No shit ! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Picardo85 (1408929) on Monday November 29, 2010 @03:59PM (#34379384)
    nuff said
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Bath in my own urine, I do... I've never been sick a day in my life

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Galestar (1473827)

      Bath in my own urine, I do... I've never been sick a day in my life

      You'll also probably never had a date in your life too..

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Kosi (589267)

        You'll also probably never had a date in your life too..

        Hey, even Zappa sang about the Golden Shower, there are more girls who like that out there than you imagine!

        • by spun (1352)

          R. Kelly posts on Slashdot now?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by dudpixel (1429789)

        Bath in my own urine, I do... I've never been sick a day in my life

        You'll also probably never had a date in your life too..

        what do you mean, "probably" ?!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:14PM (#34379684)

      if gender==female then (send pix|vidz!)

    • Sterile actually.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by keeboo (724305)
        Unfortunately once urine is exposed to air, bacteria start to process that into something unpleasant.
        Canned food is sterile too, but it will eventually rot if left opened.
  • by Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:00PM (#34379424)
    But it won't kill me, because I won't use them. In the past 20 years or so we have become so afraid of dirt that our kids will have practically no immune system at all.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Heck, if you can get a kid to wash their hands as often as they should - let alone use soap every time, you should write a parenting book.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Sponge Bath (413667)
        No kidding. I wince at the nastiness my nephews, nieces and their friends more or less wallow in, but they seem generally healthy and happy. From a clean adult viewpoint I still think children are best handled with latex gloves and lengthy tongs.
      • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:31PM (#34380010)

        My kids will turn on the taps, wait, and then turn the taps off just to avoid washing their hands. I was asking why the towel wasn't damp and they started rinsing their hands. Pests.

        I stopped caring about germs. I bike to work, I exercise at the Y (26 minutes ago, excellent!), I have one kid in school and one in daycare, I SCUBA dive in the ocean (we discharge screened sewage here), and I eat at a pub about once a week on average. (the chefs there don't exactly use antibacterial soaps...) I've had someone puke in my mouth. (My daughter; she was very young and the game was very high.) Normal germs don't stand a chance in my body.

        I licked my keyboard while I was posting this. I'm not afraid of germs.

    • by krazytekn0 (1069802) on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:07PM (#34379536) Homepage Journal
      which is why my poop eating, dirt crawling, ringwormed, 2 year old that I let play in a pile of wood with rusty nails sticking out, will RULE THE WORLD
    • by Hatta (162192) on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:07PM (#34379556) Journal

      Let's just tag this story Carlin and be done with it.

    • by CODiNE (27417)

      Guess what, if anti-bacterials produce a nasty superbug that goes around killing everyone, it'll be your problem too.

  • I've suspected for years that the use of antibacterial soap would prove problematic as it promotes the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Life always finds a way...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Antibacterial soap does not contain antibiotics. It contains simpler chemicals (alcohol, etc) which kill cells on contact. Antibiotics are more specific

      • by icebike (68054)

        Antibacterial soap does not contain antibiotics. It contains simpler chemicals (alcohol, etc) which kill cells on contact. Antibiotics are more specific

        But the GP's point remains. Bacteria will evolve to be less sensitive to these chemicals over time. After all, the chemicals couldn't be all that harsh if putting them on your skin does no immediate harm.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sjames (1099)

          Actually, it's quite harmful to living cells, especially when they aren't in a supportive environment. Your hands aren't harmed because they're protected by a layer of dead cells and under that there IS a supportive environment.

          Bacteria are about as likely to evolve resistance to anti-bacterial soap as we are to evolve resistance to being run over by a bus.

          • by icebike (68054)

            Bacteria are about as likely to evolve resistance to anti-bacterial soap as we are to evolve resistance to being run over by a bus.

            Give us some time. We haven't been driving buses all that long.

            If bacteria can live under 4000 feet of volcanic rock I suspect that over the long haul, its the soap that doesn't stand a chance.
            http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ncs/newsarch/2003/Dec03/bacteria.htm [oregonstate.edu]

          • by LWATCDR (28044)

            Well since I got hit by a truck as a teenager and walked away I think that my line is well along im proving you wrong.
            Some day my descendants shall rule world!

      • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:47PM (#34380268)

        Antibacterial soap does not contain antibiotics. It contains simpler chemicals (alcohol, etc) which kill cells on contact.

        Alcohol is usually found in hand sanitizers, not soap. Antibacterial soap usually contains triclosan, which is similar to antibiotics in that it gradually interferes with a part of bacterial metabolism that humans don't have. It prevents bacterial growth over time, but doesn't kill instantly. As with antibiotics, some bacteria have evolved resistance to triclosan due to constant exposure.

        Hand sanitizers are mostly alcohol, which is immediately highly disruptive of many biological processes. Since it evaporates away after use, long term chronic exposure shouldn't be a problem. At any rate, if alcohol could breed dangerous resistance, then the Jack Daniels distillery would have been ground zero for superbug outbreaks decades ago.

        I personally find it highly annoying that almost all liquid hand soaps on the market contain triclosan. (So much for the "wisdom" of free markets. The potential problems with triclosan, and its lack of effectiveness in preventing disease have been common knowledge for many years now.) We go out of our way to only buy Ivory, which is the one brand that seems to not include triclosan (or any annoying scents either), but it's not always easy to find.

      • by jpstanle (1604059) on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:52PM (#34380350)

        Why is the parent modded informative? While the antibacterials used in soap are not really an antibiotic, the rest of the post is wrong. Most antibacterial soaps contain triclosan, which when used in concentrations it is use in soaps decidedly does NOT kill on contact and merely inhibits reproduction of the bacteria cells.

        Unlike commercial hand sanitizers that usually utilize ethanol to kill on contact, the triclosan [wikipedia.org] used in antibacterial soaps is relatively simple for bacterial populations to develop resistance against.

      • If antibacterial soaps contain alcohol, then why don't they smell like alcohol?

    • by jeffmeden (135043) on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:13PM (#34379664) Homepage Journal

      Except instead of your "hey wouldn't it be totally ironic if anti-bacterial soap made people SICKER!!??" observation, they have identified Triclosan and Bisphenol A as an endocrine disruptor with the specific function of inhibiting the immune system not by protecting it from exposure or selectively breeding resistant germs (the two popular "well duh" observations here) but by actually inhibiting the effectiveness of the immune system. Knowing this, as opposed to say "knowing that for sure, antibacterial soaps are totally bad because they don't let your body *learn* about bad germs!!!" is what leads to advances in medicine and pathogen control.

      I'm not a doctor but I appreciate what they do.

      • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:43PM (#34380198) Homepage

        Except instead of your "hey wouldn't it be totally ironic if anti-bacterial soap made people SICKER!!??" observation, they have identified Triclosan and Bisphenol A as an endocrine disruptor with the specific function of inhibiting the immune system not by protecting it from exposure or selectively breeding resistant germs (the two popular "well duh" observations here) but by actually inhibiting the effectiveness of the immune system. Knowing this, as opposed to say "knowing that for sure, antibacterial soaps are totally bad because they don't let your body *learn* about bad germs!!!" is what leads to advances in medicine and pathogen control.

        I'm not a doctor but I appreciate what they do.

        Let's not get hasty here. They took some data previously collected:

        Methods: Using data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, we compared urinary bisphenol A (BPA) and triclosan with serum cytomegalovirus antibody levels and diagnosis of allergies or hayfever in US adults and children age 6 years. We used multivariate ordinary least squares linear regression models to examine the association of BPA and triclosan with cytomegalovirus antibody titers, and multivariate logistic regression models to investigate the association of these chemicals with allergy/hayfever diagnosis. Statistical models were stratified by age (

        Then ran a series of statistical tests to see if there were any correlations between the body burden of BPA and triclosan and putative proxies for immune function (CMV titer and hayfever diagnosis).

        They "adjusted" for a bunch of variables and come out with a correlation between the markers and their effects. They then go on to state that the chemicals may depress immune function.

        It may be true but this sort of analysis is prone to a host of problems - poor data collection, poor data analysis, over correlation by the statistical software and god knows what else by the statistical software (disclaimer - I've only read the abstract, I don't know exactly how they did it but unless they have a very good statistician looking over their shoulders, they open to making any one of a number of mistakes).

        And of course, our favorite logical fallacy: Correlation implying Causation. Specifically, the charge that the endocrine disruption mechanism of BPA and Triclosan is the cause of the immune changes is not addressed at all. It's simply assumed.

        Unfortunately, this is like the vast majority of the literature in these areas. Because good science is so hard to do, we gets lots of these little studies that may or may not mean much of anything. They're fine, it's the way we have to do things, but don't flush all of the soap down the toilet.

  • Yawn (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kosi (589267) on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:04PM (#34379480)

    It's not new that our immune system has to be trained to work well. And only some kind of idiot doesn't make the link that keeping the kids away from every source of infection must result in an inferior immune system. Where's the news here?

    • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jeffmeden (135043) on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:18PM (#34379742) Homepage Journal

      It's not new that our immune system has to be trained to work well. And only some kind of idiot doesn't make the link that keeping the kids away from every source of infection must result in an inferior immune system. Where's the news here?

      What's new, it seems (even by reading the summary and not venturing near TFA) is that the story has NOTHING to do with "training" the immune system. Instead the study was on how endocrine inhibitors influenced immune system effectiveness. Strangely, they made no mention of the "kids who played with dirt vs. kids who were kept in a hermetic bubble" research that so many on slashdot are fond of reciting.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MozeeToby (1163751)

      'Antibacterial' soap kills almost no bacteria that regular old soap doesn't. It is a marketing term that means nothing in the world of reality because soap itself destroys most strains of bacteria on contact. Therefore, this is something more going on here than just "not enough germs weakens immune system". The actual article is about possible negative effects that some chemicals, including Triclosan which is one ingredient used to make 'antibacterial' soap, have on the immune system.

      • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Informative)

        by gordguide (307383) on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:38PM (#34380128)

        'Antibacterial' soap kills almost no bacteria that regular old soap doesn't. It is a marketing term that means nothing in the world of reality because soap itself destroys most strains of bacteria on contact. Therefore, this is something more going on here than just "not enough germs weakens immune system". ...

        Not true, actually. Soap simply breaks the bond between your skin and the oils your body produces. These oils are what prevents plain water from washing away bacteria.

        So, washing with ordinary soap washes away bacteria; it does not kill them.

        Antibacterial soaps do kill many of the bacteria, while also washing them away (as it is, after all, soap). By antibacterial soaps we are talking about products like Irish Spring; by ordinary soap we are talking about products like Ivory bar soap.

        No antibacterial agent (that you can safely use in the home) kills 100% of the flora it's exposed to, and no soap washes away 100% it's exposed to.

        Your body needs some types of bacteria to be healthy; as does your own skin. You don't really want to be killing helpful bacteria; you are less healthy as a result, but antibacterial agents are non-discriminatory. They kill the good with the bad. So, there's one problem with antibacterial soaps.

        With ordinary soap, you wash away a large amount of bacteria but helpful bacteria remain in enough quantity that they can reproduce and do their helpful job.

        Also, bacteria are able over time to resist agents deployed to kill them. So, if you use antibacterial soaps where ordinary soap would do, you end up with "superbug" infestations, like ordinary staph bacteria that morphs into aggressive agents that infect wounds in hospitals and are extremely difficult to control. There's the second problem with antibacterial soaps.

        Use ordinary soap, wash as often as required, and live a healthy life. It's not complex.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Derek Pomery (2028)

          Er. Detergents also destroy bacteria.

          You know all those stories recently of growing organs? In many cases they just plop an organ into a detergent bath, let the cells be dissolved, then grow the new organ on the collagen scaffold.

          Another example.
          You can use ordinary dish soap in DNA extraction.

          Emulsification of cell membrane lipids appears to be the term.

    • Re:Yawn (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SpinyNorman (33776) on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:28PM (#34379944)

      The news here is that there maybe a link between chemicals used in antibacterial soaps, etc, and immume disfunction (over activity - allergies/etc).

      This is NOT at all the same as the trite observation that your immune system (mostly) needs to be exposed to stuff to protect you from it. Lack of protection isn't the same as disfunction, and this isn't about NOT being exposed to anything - it's about BEING exposed to something (certain harmful chemicals).

      Of course, correlation isn't causation, and it's not necessarily the chemicals cited that are causing the disfucntion, so (as the authors conclude) this only incidates the need for further study.

    • by alen (225700)

      i guess you have never met the cause of all this, Mommy

      i come home with my son i don't care if we wash our hands. if he gets sick, who cares. good for him. my wife like my mom and other women is a clean freak especially with personal hygiene. i tried to explain to her that the anti-bacterial soaps are bad, but it's not registering. to a lot of women anything that kills germs is good

      • by Kosi (589267)

        No, my mom was really relaxed in that aspect compared to other moms (and that was back in the 70's, long before the rise of antibacterial dish liquid). When I decided to play in the dirt, I played in the dirt. When other moms nearly panicked because I poked around in some dead wood and ate the worms or whatever was in there, my mom said "what, the birds eat that all the time, can't be bad for my son!".

    • by pz (113803)

      It's not new that our immune system has to be trained to work well. And only some kind of idiot doesn't make the link that keeping the kids away from every source of infection must result in an inferior immune system. Where's the news here?

      Two of my relatives by marriage do not understand this, and would be classified as "some kind of idiot," despite being rational, intelligent, reasonable people. That is, they are apparently normal people except when it comes to dirt, in which case they become germ nazis. These sorts of reports continue to be news to them, news that they both passively and actively resist.

      On the other hand, a close colleague of mine did field work in PNG looking at asthma rates in the undeveloped and developed sections of

  • by Saishuuheiki (1657565) on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:05PM (#34379510)

    Now the article suggests that it could either be caused by the hygiene or the chemicals used in the cleaners.

    Now if this study was well done and had some control groups, say other forms of cleaners, we might learn something we didn't already know.

    • by radtea (464814)

      I didn't bother to read the article as the summary contains no information. Here is a logically equivalent summary:

      "Young people who are overexposed to antibacterial soaps containing triclosan may NOT suffer more allergies, and exposure to higher levels of Bisphenol A among adults may NOT negatively influence the immune system, a new University of Michigan School of Public Health study suggests (abstract, full paper [PDF]). Triclosan is a chemical compound widely used in products such as antibacterial soap

    • by spun (1352) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `yranoituloverevol'> on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:31PM (#34380002) Journal

      Now the article suggests that it could either be caused by the hygiene or the chemicals used in the cleaners.

      Now if this study was well done and had some control groups, say other forms of cleaners, we might learn something we didn't already know.

      The article suggests what now? Did you read it? No. You did not read the article. Do you know how I know you did not read the article? Because I read the article, and it suggests nothing of the sort. This was not a test of soaps and cleaners. And you know what? I'm not going to tell you what the article actually says. If you want to know why you are wrong, and why you are not smarter than a science reporter, let alone an actual scientist, go read the article.

      • I did read the article...and yes, it does also mention different negative effects on the immune system of adults vs children, and then effectively says 'We don't know exactly what caused this' and 'although we found more allergies in children, this may actually be the cause of more cleaning rather than a effect'.

        So the end of the article itself suggests 'These things we thought may be true may still be true, but this doesn't prove anything'

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by spun (1352)

          Uh not to nit pick, but this study is far from useless, and your smug, supercilious "Now if this study was well done and had some control groups, say other forms of cleaners, we might learn something we didn't already know." appears to be a poorly paraphrased version of what the scientists themselves actually said. Pointing out things the scientists themselves say does not make you wise.

          Plain and simple, you did not understand what you read, you said a control group with different cleaners was needed. This

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by icebike (68054)

      Now the article suggests that it could either be caused by the hygiene or the chemicals used in the cleaners.

      Now if this study was well done and had some control groups, say other forms of cleaners, we might learn something we didn't already know.

      Quoting from the Abstract:

      Results: In analyses adjusted for age, sex, race, BMI, creatinine levels, family income, and educational attainment, ... compared urinary bisphenol A (BPA) and triclosan with serum cytomegalovirus antibody levels

      So by measuring urinary bisphenol A they have a built in "control group" of sorts. Since BPA is not cleared rapidly from the body according to studies cited in the full paper, this allows them to gauge the amount of exposure to these chemicals. They then compared exposure levels to diagnosed infections and allergies.

      The study had nothing to do with soap use or any specific products. Simply measuring the levels of long-lived chemicals in the blood and correlating that with diagn

  • I'm just being healthy.
  • by SpeedyDX (1014595) <speedyphoenix@gm ... m minus language> on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:08PM (#34379568)

    One claim is that being too clean makes people unhealthy. The other is that triclosan and BPA make people unhealthy. Those are two very distinct and different claims. The latter claim is what this study seems to prove, while the former claim seems completely unsubstantiated by this study according to TFA.

    If those antibacterial products could have been made with a compound other than triclosan, would cleanliness still have a negative impact on health?

    Further, the closing comment on the article makes another good point:

    "It is possible, for example, that individuals who have an allergy are more hygienic because of their condition, and that the relationship we observed is, therefore, not causal or is an example of reverse causation," Aiello said.

    So really, there seems to be NOTHING in support of the claim that being too clean makes people unhealthy.

    This is either another case of journalistic ignorance or journalistic sensationalism. But seeing as the journal is called Medical Daily, you'd expect them to have at least a minimum amount of knowledge and insight.

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      I would say that both claims are correct in different ways. The moderate-longterm cases of what triclosan are still being figured out nearly 40 years later. And being too clean *is* bad for you. Your immune system is built around a reaction based result. That's been known for a long time. Which is one of the reasons that the whole vacuum sealed housing with HEPA filters bugs the piss out of me. Along with the *we must purify* mentality.

      People are dirty. The environment is filthy, but our bodies long a

      • by spun (1352)

        While I agree with you thatother studies have shown that being too clean has negative effects on the immune system, this study has absolutely nothing to do with that, and thus the headline is completely misleading.

    • There was a study a few years back that children raised in the cleanest households were more likely to have allergies and be asthmatic than those raised in households with a small amount of dirt. The authors of the study speculated that this was due to pet dander (their observation was that the difference between the very clean households and the not-so-clean households in their study was the presence of pets). They suggested that a followup study should be conducted to test this explanation. I have yet to
    • by sjames (1099)

      There is nothing in this particular study to validate the first claim, but then it wasn't looking at that. TFA also doesn't support cosmic inflation or M theory.

      The summary and the article themselves are OK, it's just the headline that implies a different thing (don't blame /. for the title, it's directly from TFA).

      As with most studies, it's not the final word on the subject. The study has limitations, in part because it's practically impossible to find people NOT exposed to anti-bacterial soap and because

  • Nothing new (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The 1954 study by the Public Health Service and the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (NFIP) study already found that out about polio when they did the Salk vaccine field trial: "But polio is a disease of hygiene. A child who lives in less hygienic surroundings is more likely to contact a mild case of polio early in childhood , while still protected by antibodies from its mother. After being infected, these children generate their own antibodies, which protect them against more severe infection la

  • Marketing Gone Wrong (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:09PM (#34379574) Journal

    I place a lot of blame on the marketing people for this. Soap manufacturers were the first. Despite the fact that soap already kills like 99% of the germs on contact, soap marketers started dumping stuff like triclosan into their products to tout their "antibacterial effects". Now triclosan and its ilk are in everything and everyone must have it, even if it's completely pointless. Seriously, do we really need triclosan covered toothbrushes? Has anyone in the past 100 years really gotten sick because of their toothbrush?

    • To be fair, did they know this would happen? It's all hindsite 20/20. Just another lesson to be learned from the laws of unintended consequences. Let's learn from it and move on.

    • by robbyjo (315601)

      Triclosan covered toothbrushes? At one time science showed that triclosan reduces plaque. And what causes plaque in the first place? Bacteria! Don't put the blame solely on marketing. Be informed!
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2638181 [nih.gov]

    • by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:29PM (#34379956)
      Actually plain soap doesn't do shit. It's an emulsifier, not a panacea. Plain soap simply binds oils and water, the theory being that if you take the oil off your skin you're magically "clean". It does not "kill" "germs" (the non-scientific catchall term which includes viruses which aren't even alive in the first place according to the classical definition of life) any more than other emulsifiers like lecithin or egg yolks do.
      • MOD PARENT DOWN (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kumanopuusan (698669)

        Conventional wisdom has once again survived the onslaught of someone with just enough information to draw the wrong conclusion. You seem to have discovered that ordinary soap doesn't kill bacteria. Great, but that's not what soap is used for.

        Pathogens are typically transmitted in droplets of fluid or on the surface of small particles. (Soap won't help with a direct exchange of fluids, either with parasites or members of the same species.) Washing removes pathogens by removing the foreign matter in which

  • And this is News? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:09PM (#34379576)

    Today's kids are so wrapped in cotton wool the poor darlings never get dirty.
    I blame the TV advertising for this. Many ads go out of their way to suggest that the only way to stay healthy is to use AB stuff at every opportunity.

    Last year I told my grandkids how I used to play in the dirt. They were shocked.
    They didn't beleive me until I showed them a picture of me covered in mud from head to foot aged two.
    Their mothers were horrified.
      "All those germs? How could you?"

    Pah.
    Then to make them feel rally bad, I told them how we used to dig holes in the ground and make underground camps, have cooks outs and other cool stuff.
    All done when I was less than 12.

    Ok, we didn't have PlayStations or Xboxes back then. We had fun inventing things to do.
     

  • by ubergeek65536 (862868) on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:14PM (#34379680)

    That's why Bisphenol A is a registered toxic substance in Canada. It also causes more girls to be born that boys.. but maybe that's a good thing for the /. crowd.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by SirThe (1927532)
      It doesn't really cause more girls to be born than boys; it causes boys to develop girl's sex organs and has been linked to breast cancer, among other things (it basically acts like estrogen).
  • by Voulnet (1630793) on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:16PM (#34379720)
    Join me, slashdotters, as I expand my life expectancy in that mud pit.
  • by dclozier (1002772) on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:18PM (#34379754)
  • Is it such a slow news day that a finding in a health study is posted on Slashdot? There are zillions of studies of various quality with lots of different findings on lots of different health-related topics. What makes this one different from every other one?

    Stuff like this is the best day-to-day indication of editorial bias in the news. But it's hard to guess the particulars of the bias involved in selecting this story.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:22PM (#34379822)

    ...indeed that being 'too clean' is disastrous to one's health. Having spent more than 15 years in Africa, I came to the observation that folks over there are allergic to nothing I could tell. Not pollen, nuts, honey, dust...name it!

    When I came to America, I found it strange to see that people were allergic to certain smells during summer! Insane.

    The trouble is that companies continue to tout these so called hygiene products which in effect, make people's lives miserable. The fact is that bacteria found in the environment are more or less harmless.

  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:26PM (#34379914)

    Fear of Germs. [youtube.com]

    Skip ahead to 1:49.

  • It's a dog's life (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jbarr (2233) on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:30PM (#34379970) Homepage

    We got a puppy a couple years ago, and since then, whenever we go for walks, I always let her drink from puddles, play in the dirt, and sniff and eat pretty much anything (except cat poop--that's just gross.) My thought is that if her body gets used to the dirty things around her, she'll have a stronger constitution. Obviously far from scientific, but after over two years, she's in perfect health. it's really nothing more than how I grew up as a kid. We played in the dirt, drank from streams, and pretty much didn't care about what we got into. Other than the occasional bout of the runs or poison ivy (thankfully, unrelated!) my friends and I grew up pretty healthy.

  • Clean vs. Unclean (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tirk (655692)
    I think it's interesting the arguments about whether being too clean makes one unhealthy or not. I realize the article really didn't answer that, but I think in general history tells us the answer pretty clearly. For most of human history we lived in our own filth, didn't bath and had many other unclean things about us. And we've learned that being cleaner has doubled or tripled our lifespans. And cleanliness especially plays a role when someone is not healthy for some reason or another. While I am not
  • by bl8n8r (649187) on Monday November 29, 2010 @04:45PM (#34380230)
    Then don't forget phthalates, sunscreen and many more products. It makes no damn logical sense to complain about hand soap when you can basically get the same results from sunscreen or plastic (or plastic-lined) water bottles.  This crap is in so many products that hand soap is only the tip of the iceberg.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phthalate
    http://www.ewg.org/2010sunscreen/9-surprising-facts-about-sunscreen/
    http://www.kk.org/cooltools/archives/001616.php
  • There was an article a while back in Nature [nature.com]
    At least for pigs, an aseptic environment for the piglet, actually leads to a less healthy individual. Researcher Denise Kelly (University of Aberdeen, UK) explains that for the study, piglets were divided equally between an outdoor environment, and indoor environment, and one where they were fed a diet high in antibiotics. The outdoor raised pigs intestinal tracts had a significantly higher population of "healthy" bacteria than their indoor raised brethren. Fu
  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Monday November 29, 2010 @05:16PM (#34380730)
    What do Triclosan being an potential alergen and Bisphenol-A which is not a sanitation product have to do with "Being Too Clean Can Make People Sick" which is reference to the hygiene-hypothesis?

    And then we're not being too clean, we're just cleaning the wrong way, the wrong things, the wrong time.

    My understanding of the hygiene-hypothesis and modern auto-immune disorders is that its nothing to do with the over use of sanitation products, and more to do with we don't spend enough time outdoors in the natural environment which our immune system seems to need to be calibrated by. Instead of contact with environmental bacterial, dust, spores, we're exposed to artifical chemicals in our indoor environments and food/water and our immune system gets the wrong idea about what to fight.

    I'm disturbed by the lack of handwashing in the general population. Almost nobody remembers to wash their hands before they eat, barely do it after visiting the bathroom, and it certainly never happens when your eating out. Blame fast food which is "finger food" to some extent. Some kids these days don't know how to use a knife and fork let alone name vegetables and fruit. Some are genuinely perplexed by the need to wash hands before handling food - and don't really grasp the reasons why - from experience managing a food kitchen.

    Previous generations were much more fastidious about washing and scrubbing themselves and everything, perhaps because before antibiotics it was the only defence against the spread of pathogetns. Perhaps because these people had deadly global flu pandemics in living memory.

    It's ironic that we are both over using antiseptic compounds where they aren't needed, poisoning ourselves, and not cleaning when it actually is needed to prevent the spread of potentiall deadly pathogenics (salmonella, campolybacter, hepatitis A, influenza and many more). Virtually all human to human or human to food transmission of this stuff is due to some dim wit not washing his hands after taking a dump. Influenza is weakly spread airbone, but strongly spread by touch.
  • by Lord Kano (13027) on Monday November 29, 2010 @08:14PM (#34382764) Homepage Journal

    Because we're not born with immunity to most things. We acquire it from low level exposure. If you remove all of those initial low level exposures from someone's life, they won't acquire immunity. It makes perfect sense.

    LK

  • by IHC Navistar (967161) on Tuesday November 30, 2010 @03:47AM (#34386076)
    Someone ought to throw the idiots who allow this crap to get posted under a bus. I'm getting sick of reading "breakthrough" and "discovery" articles about stuff that was, and still is, already known 40+ years before SlashDot was around. We knew this back in grammar school, while some high-paid, University egg-head rehashes old research and claims some kind of discovery!

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