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Soaps that are formulated to contain an approved antibacterial ingredient can be marketed as an antibacterial hand soap. Dial® antibacterial hand soaps are formulated with the bacteria killing ingredient called Benzalkonium chloride. This antibacterial ingredient has been used for over 50 years in many types of antibacterial products. They are chemically known as Quaternary Ammonium Chlorides (Quats). The active ingredient can kill a broad spectrum of bacteria that are found in the home, including commonly found kitchen bacteria.
Published data shows that the risk of food borne illness in the home is prevalent. It has been reported that up to 87% of reported food-borne illnesses are associated with food preparation in the home.1 Cross contamination from food sources to countertops, cutting boards and hands of the food preparer have been well documented. Researchers found several types of bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella spp. surviving on hands, sponges, clothes and utensils for hours or days after initial contact with the microorganisms2.
Additional surveillance studies evaluating the diverse types of bacteria in the home have been reported. Levels of fecal and total coliforms were found to be higher in the kitchen than in the bathroom. Specifically they found Escherichia coli, Salmonella and Camplyobacter3 . Pathogenic bacteria are continuously introduced into the home by pets, people, food, water and even air.
- Asselt van E.D. et al. Cross Contamination in the kitchen: estimation of transfer rates for cutting boards, hands and knives. Journal of Applied Microbiology 105 (2008) 1392 – 1401
- Scott E. et al. The survival and transfer of microbial-contamination via cloths, hands and utensils. Journal of Applied Bacteriology 68, 1990 271 – 278
- Rusin P.P. et al. Reduction of fecal coliform and heterotrophic plate count bacteria in the household kitchen and bathroom by disinfection with hypochlorite cleaners. Journal of Applied Microbiology 85 (1998) 819 – 828
We know that hand hygiene plays a significant role in the prevention of food-borne illnesses and other diseases where hands play a role in transmission. Washing your hands with an antiseptic hand wash either before or after food preparation and other activities that leave the hands dirty can help reduce the risk of spreading bacteria. Antibacterial hand soaps kill more bacteria on the hands then plain soap. Reducing the number of bacteria on the hands, reduces the chances of cross contaminating food, and other surfaces in the home. Published studies have shown that by reducing the level of bacteria on hands, the amount left that could be transferred is significantly less then levels found after washing with plain soap. Higher levels of bacteria can result in a higher number of illnesses.
Antibacterial hand soaps are formulated to reduce bacteria on the hands. While the active ingredients in antibacterial hand soaps can kill many different types of bacteria, they do not specifically target “good” bacteria vs. “bad” bacteria. These products are formulated to provide an immediate reduction of bacteria when you wash your hands. They are not designed to provide a long acting protection and they also are not formulated to reduce your normal flora for extended periods of time. Transient bacteria are bacteria that are picked up on the hands during food preparation, diaper changing, petting pets and other daily activities. Antibacterial hand soaps work by removing or killing the transient bacteria that are not normally found on your skin.