Blasting bugs won’t prevent disease

Many cleaning products these days boast ‘antibacterial’ agents to ‘kill germs’, but the benefit of these products is dubious, says new American research.


In this New York study, 238 Hispanic families were randomly given various household cleaning and handwashing products with or without such ‘antibacterial’ agents.


During four years of follow-up, there were no significant differences in overall occurrences of any of the most common infectious diseases or in the main symptoms of fever, diarrhoea, runny nose, cough or skin problems.


In fact, those with a chronic disease who were given the antibacterial products were actually more likely to have fever, runny nose or cough (Ann Intern Med, 2004; 140: 321-9).

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