Antibacterials may do more harm than good, UO scientist says

Erica Hartmann

Using antibacterial hand gel to ward off germs may actually have the opposite effect. Erica Hartmann, a postdoctoral research associate at the UO’s Biology and the Built Environment Center, recently shared her research on microbes at the BuildWell symposium in San Francisco.

Her talk is featured in a story in GreenBiz. Hartmann says pathogens need competition to optimize indoor and outdoor health.

“Contrary to their intention to kill bacteria, antibacterial products seem to make bacteria stronger,” Hartmann told the crowd.

Antibacterial products wipe out all bacteria — both the good and the bad.

Ditching antibacterial hand gel and soaps may not be enough. According to Hartmann’s research, manufacturers of all kinds of building materials place an anti-microbial in everything from paint to keyboards. The anti-microbials end up in the dust in buildings.

For the full story, see “Are antibacterial building materials making you unhealthy?