No Difference: How Marketing Claims Don’t Hold Up
March 16, 2010 by Dr. Mark Wiley
You heard the news and you bought the product. The promise of a liquid soap that can kill bacteria—99 percent of bacteria—was too good to pass up. Billions of consumer dollars later, and now experts say the claim is false.
According to the Associated Press (AP), a federal advisory panel found anti-bacterial soaps to be no more effective than regular soap and water.
Companies manufacturing these hand soaps are now being warned: Prove your claims or remove them from the packaging.
Hard to believe, isn’t it? Years of promoting liquid anti-bacterial soap as the answer to killing disease-causing germs—and now without the need for water! Some brands offer the type that is loaded with alcohol and dissolves dry right on your hands!
Yet an 11 to 1 vote by the panel that advises the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded that they “saw no added benefits to anti-bacterials when compared with soapy hand washing.”
The irony? The advisory board also said that these anti-bacterial soaps are made from synthetic chemicals that could actually contribute to the growth of a strain of bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics.
That’s right; the soap that bills to kill 99 percent of germs is causing new super germs that our antibiotics can’t handle! Each year the flu virus gets worse and “anti-bacterial” soaps and cleaners just may be one of the causes.
Yet the advisory panel made no suggestion to the FDA to remove the products from consumer shelves. Their argument for allowing the products to remain is that their true risks versus benefits have not yet been determined.
But Dr. Alastair Wood, chairman of the Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee, said: “There’s no evidence they are a good value.”
And Dr. Mary E. Tinetti, another panelist, said unless these products can show benefits over soap and water there could be a strong movement to remove them from the market.
For now the FDA is considering what action to take. The so-called anti-bacterial soaps actually do clean your hands. And they are just as effective in doing so as regular soap and water. Yet, whether they kill 99 percent of bacteria and whether they are safe isn’t the problem. So, the FDA may vote to have such claims simply removed from the packaging for now.
You see, where anti-bacterials kill germs on the spot, soap and water separates them from the skin for rinsing down the drain. But they both do the same job of cleaning. Neither is more effective than the other.
And while the manufacturers of such products state that their benefits are better than soap and that consumers at home and at work need “choices” when deciding on what they clean with, they offer no proof to substantiate their claims.
And so the FDA is awaiting industry members to present substantial evidence that the anti-bacterials do as they claim and are not harmful to the consumers using them.
Until then, the choice is yours. And here’s another choice: mass produced vs. organic food.
A recent study suggests that organic food is no better than mass produced food… at least in terms of nutrients.
According to the latest long-term study of organic food versus mass-produced food, it seems there is no nutritional difference. It seems consumers in London have been complaining about the huge financial disparity between ordinary food and organic food and wanted to know if there was true health value for their financial investment.
Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine conducted a systematic review of more than 160 scientific papers and studies published in the leading journals over the past half-century.
Their findings showed that “a small number of differences in nutrient content were found to exist between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs, but these are unlikely to be of any public health relevance,” said Alan Dangour, one of the report’s authors.
Dangour went on to say: “Our review indicates that there is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority.”
So what do I think of this? It makes no difference at all.
Sure, their research shows that the nutritional content of normal food is almost the same as organic food. So what? The reason I (and others) turned to organic food was to avoid the herbicides and pesticides that commercial farmers use to improve crop output and kill crop-eating insects.
We choose organic so that we won’t get cancer from eating an apple or salad that was grown in chemically-heavy soil or sprayed with toxic chemicals that will then enter our blood stream.
Recent reports showed that children who ate fruit grown with everyday commercial chemicals presented with traces of pesticides in their urine! And after a mere five days of switching to organic fruit, the toxic levels dropped drastically from their blood.
So you can save a few bucks by consuming commercially grown foodstuffs and you may actually receive the actual nutrients found in their organic counterparts.
But beware: having money in your pocket and nutrients in your system in no way reflects the toxic chemical levels you are also living with. Life is too short and too valuable to play games with. Again, the choice is yours.
What’s it gonna be?
—Dr. Mark Wiley