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The How's of Hand and Dish Washing

Hand washing
1. Wet your hands with warm running water.
2. Add soap, then rub hands together to make a lather.
3. Do this away from running water, so you don't wash the lather away. Wash the front and back of your hands, between fingers and under nails. Continue washing for at least 15 seconds.
4. Rinse hands well under warm running water.
5. Dry hands thoroughly with a clean towel.

The temperature of the water is an important factor in dissolving detergent, removing food soils and drying dishes properly. To do these things most effectively, the water temperature at the dishwasher should not be lower than 130 degrees F (54.4 degrees C). As temperature is reduced, the removal of greasy and oily soils becomes more difficult; spotting and filming on dishes may occur as well as improper drying.

Antibacterial Cleaners Q&A:
What is the difference between plain soap and antibacterial soap used in the home?
The main difference is that antibacterial soaps contain a special ingredient for controlling germs. Washing with plain soap initially removes some germs, but the germs left on the hands can quickly regrow and increase in number.

Do you believe that the expanding use of antibacterial ingredients in consumer wash products could lead to bacterial resistance to antibiotics?
The overuse and misuse of antibiotic drugs are well-documented as the major causes of antibiotic resistance. In hospitals, where antibacterial products are heavily used, researchers have not seen a link between antibacterial wash products and antibiotic resistance. Therefore, we believe that consumers can safely use antibacterial hand and body wash products.

Has industry studied the issue of antibacterial resistance?
The industry asked experts on antibiotic resistance to do an extensive review of the available data. The experts concluded that no link has been established between the use of antibacterial wash products in real world situations and bacterial resistance. These reviews were presented to the Food and Drug Administration in January 1997.

What do you think of the recent reports indicating exposure to various antibacterial ingredients can lead to resistant bacteria?
We do not believe that this research is relevant to how consumers use antibacterial wash products in the home. The controlled conditions of these laboratory experiments are not typically found in the real world. To quote one of the authors, there is a big difference between bacteria specially grown in petri dishes in a laboratory and wild bacteria proliferating around a house.

What are the differences between the real world and laboratory results?
In the laboratory, bacteria are grown under highly controlled temperature, moisture and nutritional conditions. In the home, bacteria encounter varying moisture conditions, and are exposed to other factors (e.g., chlorine in water, surface cleaners, etc.) that would limit their survival.

Didnít Dr. Levyís work show that bacteria that were resistant to antibacterial agents were also resistant to antibiotics?
We do not believe that the highly controlled laboratory conditions used in Dr. Levyís research predict what happens to the bacteria that consumers encounter in everyday situations. If there were a link between antibacterial use and antibiotic resistance, we would have seen it by now in those circumstances where antibacterial products are heavily used and resistance monitored, such as in hospitals.

Isnít it possible that the low level of actives remaining on the skin after using an antibacterial wash product could lead to resistant bacteria?
We have not seen any evidence that this has happened.

If many scientists do not believe that the use of antibacterial wash products is contributing to antibiotic resistance, why do some continue to raise concerns?
Many scientists and health experts are very concerned about the emergence of resistance due to the overuse and misuse of antibiotics throughout the world. The implications of this situation have spurred discussion aimed at finding appropriate methods for increasing our understanding about the causes of resistance.

What does the FDA say about this issue?
An FDA panel of experts considered the available data in 1997 and concluded that bacterial resistance due to antibacterial hand and body wash products is not a current concern. To assure awareness of any new developments, FDA recommended continued monitoring of the situation.

Does industry plan to carry out research on antibacterial resistance?
Understanding whether the use of antibacterial wash products plays a role in increased antibiotic resistance is part of industryís commitment to the safe and effective use of these products. Industry continues to review the data and participate in discussions with experts in the field aimed at increasing scientistsí understanding of the resistance issue.

Why are so many antibacterial soaps on the market now?
Soaps intended to fight or inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria have been marketed since the 1920s. Greater concern over health risks from germs has generated increased consumer demand for new antibacterial wash products.

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