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No Difference: How Marketing Claims Don’t Hold Up

March 16, 2010 by  

No Difference: How Marketing Claims Don’t Hold Up

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

Dr. Mark Wiley

is an internationally renowned mind-body health practitioner, author, motivational speaker and teacher. He holds doctorates in both Oriental and alternative medicine, has done research in eight countries and has developed a model of health and wellness grounded in a self-directed, self-cure approach. The Wiley Method provides a revolutionary way of providing recovery and prevention of chronic pain, illness and disease. Grab your FREE COPY of Dr. Mark Wiley's "The 3 Secrets to Optimal Health" HERE.

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  • Yandle

    While God gave us a perfect world, He knew that mankind would sin and bring disease and death into the world. So God provided antibiotics. But He also knew that some germs would become resistant to antibiotics. So He provided His creation with substances to solve that problem, too. Nevertheless, mankind’s primary problem is sin, and He provided us with the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world – one repentant sinner at a time.

    • denniso

      It’s been 2,000 yrs since the sins of the world were supposed to be washed away by Jesus…you say he’s doing it one sinner at a time. According to most people here the world is more ‘sinful’ than ever,so at that rate, when is the world going to be cleansed of ‘sin’?? I think you’d better start looking to humans for the fixes to our problems,caused by humans afterall.

  • angel-wanna-be

    I posted before some of what I’m going say but __I never used these anti-bacterial soaps now or ever.I worked in the medical field alooong time ago__after each patient handling, we washed our hands with reg soap and/or used latex gloves if need be and we survived. Actually we were probably more immuned & healthy than most folks, due to being around the sick all the time. You can’t remove all the germs from life, there has be some germs left to build immunity__Taking mega doses of anti-biotics isn’t any good either it supresses the immune system__I was a country girl and until I was older, my cousins and I swam in the creek on my grandmothers farm. The same creek the horses, sheep and cows used__ WE swam among snakes, frogs, pulled leeches from our feet and We Got Dirty, we never got sick!_____Her’s an usual story__My mother was stricken with Oseto_Rhumetoid Arthritis and frozen in a sitting position at 11 years of age. Now, The longer you have Rhuemetoid, the more supressed the immune system becomes. She became seriously ill in 84 and was diagnosed with Thyphoid Fever a very unusual case. This is a highly contagious illness. I took care of her without gloves and only hand washed until she was hospitalized, 2 days round the clock days. When she was diagnosed, The rest of the family and I, had to be tested for it__The test showed, none of us had it or were carriers, and to this day no one knows how or where she contracted it, we were all in the same place at the same time and ate the same things. We tested everything trying to find the source. There was one other case in the area at that time was reported, they have no idea that source either!__
    My point is,It’s all a bit of common sense,if your around infection keep your hands away from your face and mouth until you can wash them__ Let your kids get dirty once in a while, a daily shower and reg hand washing is enough, the rest is left to chance__This country anymore have become a bunch of fanatical health & clean freaks and for what it’s worth, I believe it’s helped these anti-biotic resistant super-bugs to develope!

    • Richard Pawley

      Excellent letter and article! But, “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.” I thought this was proven fact, not “COULD…CONTRIBUTE” to creating super-bugs! It’s why I haven’t used any but ordinary soap for years! Incidentally, one only needs to use a few drops in the hand and with a little water a rapid and thorough ten second wash and then a 10 second rinse. Studies have been done that show that the average person washes less than 5 seconds. In one of my books I mention how I worked packing apples in 1979 and observed how the workers who sprayed the orchard after every rain actually wore under water breathing apparatus when they sprayed and the owners of the orchard ALWAYS peeled the apples. If you can afford everything organic, butter and eggs and cheese are the things to go for as the eggs (free range from a local farmer if possible) are the healthiest and both butter and cheese are concentrated. Organic is not so important but be sure to avoid even milk that is contaminated with the popular artificial bovine hormones that force cows to give as much as 20% more milk but which is illegal in all major nations outside the USA. Like chemical sugars it is BAD STUFF. There is much to learn but you can’t eat what regular Americans eat and not get the diseases that regular Americans get. Investigate Medicinal Manuka Honey too, as it has proven effective against even the flesh-eating MRSA. I have some in my medicine cabinet where it will last for years and still be potent. God bless you.

      • kodster5

        Exactly! It hasn’t occurred to those idiots at the FDA, et al, that the reason we have such an epidemic of obesity in the American population is that the hormones that are injected into livestock to make them produce more, and grow faster, etc., gets passed down the food chain, to be ingested by the consumers. That’s the reason, too, why children have been having puberty onset at a much earlier age than they did before they started putting the growth hormones into the food chain. These two events tie into the time period that they started “improving” our food sources.

        This is one of the reasons why I refuse to have anything to do with genetically modified food stuffs, why I prefer to go with organics, when I find them, even though they may cost more, and why I prefer to make my own bread products, using unbromated, unbleached flour and all natural ingredients. Why I prefer to cook from scratch, because I can control the ingredients. I don’t use margarine, but real, natural butter. Cage-free, range-fed chickens and eggs. I want to stay away from the high fructose corn syrup, as well, because I have found that it messes with my digestive system, as well. Choices we all have to make to avoid the poisons that the large corporations think is good for us, and won’t harm us! Crap.

    • Joe H.

      AngelLike you, I don’t use the anti-bacterial soaps and won’t. I just wash my hands well with soap and I don’t seem to get the flu, colds, or the like. I have gotten minor infections and taken a route of anyi-biotics but only as my Dr. has told me. I always finish them which a lot of people don’t. i know DaveH disagrees with me but I remember when I was a kid the Dr very seldom gave them for anything and when they were prescribed it was for a reason. Now someone gets a case of the sniffles, some Dr.s want to put them on 500 to 1000 Mg of antibiotics, then when the patient gets to feeling better they stop taking it before the bug they have is dead. Maybe a hundred thousand times it doesn’t matter but one time is all it takes to cause super bugs!!!

      • DaveH

        Bacteria are mutating every day whether we use antibiotics or not. Most mutations don’t survive, but the ones that do could very well be resistant to antibiotics.
        The best we can do is to give our bodies the proper ammunition to fight them.

      • Mike In MI

        Joe H. -

        Stay as far away from anti-biotics as possible. Most of them are very toxic to either, or both, the nervous system or immune system. But, since they don’t affect pain nerves you never know what they’ve done to you until it’s too late. The doctor will never blame the new problem on the last medicine he gave you, either

        Yandle said above God gave us anti-biotics – No He didn’t, unless God is extremely cruel. I am convinced that He isn’t cruel. In fact, if you’ve got your doctrine straight He gives health and healing. God has no problem answerring prayers for healing when the mind is soundly established on the Truth He gave. If the brain is mired in denominational traditions, philosophy and doctrines of devils you’ll get potpourri. 1/2 truth = 0.00 answers. If you are stuck in one of those Sunday social clubs get out and go find some one who can teach YOU how to study It, believe It, apply It and get the results He promises from It.

        What God did give each of us is an extremely powerful immune system. Learn how to empower and augment what He gave you inside. Why be afraid of every lousy microbe that makes the rounds of everybody else? Hell, fear is one of the most potent disease producers there is. Your adrenals give off cortisol and that paralyses the immune system. Somebody sneezes near you and (Boomps) your sick. If you let yourself fall into fear of whatever is going around you’re going to get it.

        “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” God would need to change His whole Bible to accomodate you. But, He also told them to keep their houses clean and do their morning constitutional outside the city walls in a hole – and bury it!

        • Joe H.

          Mike In Mich,
          disagree, My son had the h1n1 this winter and because the hospital couldn’t assign someone to be with him 24/7, (he’s handicapped) I had to stay in the hospital with him for a complete week, bathing him feeding him, the whole nine yards. All that kid did was cough and sneeze and without the shot, I can’t take them, I never even got the sniffles. both my other kids came home with regular flu,(always home cuz dad will take care of them) and still no sickness. Last month, I finally got sick on saturday and was up and around, fine by wednesday!!! After the horror stories I hear each year I’ll take that just fine!!! I just don’t get sick anymore. I also take prescribed 50,000 units of vitamine D twice a week and !000 units of E every night. I think it’s the right combo for me!!!

  • Con

    I do purchase certified organic food if it is available. Not for reasons of better nutrition but to avoid ingesting pesticides, DUH!. The pesticide angle is what eludes most folks. It always mystifies me how those researchers at large miss the point. Most of my friends buy organic food for precisely that reason, pesticides poison our bodies. For example why has cancer become an epidemic since pesticides began to be used by farmers?

    I use liquid anti-bacterial soap when I am in a situation when washing my hands is not an option. I figure this is better than no hand cleaning at all.

    Thanks for this interesting article.

  • pete

    Considering how we get so crazy about fitness and health bars, bacteria killing soaps and all that marketing hocus-pocus, we are generally a very unhygienic, overweight and silly looking society.

    Those who followed the natural way, ate the natural foods and did not get taken in by the marketing guru’s were wise indeed, less paranoid, generally healthier and more amiable.

    We have been taken in more ways than we will ever imagine. Laugh people it is definitely the best medicine.

    • denniso

      Here I’ve always thought it was a liberal conspiracy promoting organic food to drive our ‘real’ farmers out of biz. Also wasn’t it the 60′s hippie liberals/marxists that started the back to nature and land movement? Were they actually correct about something and now even rightwingers are following the lead of those anti capitalist vagabonds??

  • s c

    A marketing claims approach has more to do with fooling ‘customers’ than you might guess. Marketing is used to get people to ‘buy’ this and that. We see the effects day and night. Whether you’re single or married, we’ve been exposed to marketing techniques, and we’ve probably been suckered out of our money in the process.
    Do you really think it’s any different with politics and the sea of new faces who promise us this and that? According to Obummer and his flunky prosties, America “needed” to buy into his hope and change (don’t forget about his whiz bang, new-and-improved, transparent administration!).
    So what does America have to show for the time, money and effort? Once again, in the name of ‘better’ politics, America has been SCREWED.
    So, how does America get a refund, and how do we hose the bastards who want to control our lives and destroy America?
    Let’s have a shout out for marketing specialists, and the continuous damage they do in the name of making life “better.”

  • DaveH

    I wish we could just get back to Caveat Emptor. Is it really worth it for us to pay the Government to save us from the evils of anti-bacterial soap that isn’t really effective? This is why we are in the mess we’re in now. Too many people want the Government to protect them from every little nit-picking event because they don’t want to make the effort to think for themselves.

    We have gone from a nation of Rugged Pioneers to a nation of Simpering Wimps in just a little over 200 years.

    It is a fact that every time we breathe we inhale hundreds, maybe thousands of dust particles that carry all sorts of fungus spores and air-borne bacteria. Even Hospitals can’t completely eliminate that risk. The only real solution we have is to get the proper nutrition to support a very robust immune system.

    Big Government is the Problem, Not the Solution!

    Vote Libertarian. Get us back to the Freedom that our Founders envisioned:

    • Mike In MI

      Dave H – Amen and Amen — oops, I forgot. You’re not an ,”Amen” mind set guy. Oh, well, “Right on! Thumbs up! Got it, Du-u-u-de.”

      There’s an interesting thing that nutrition scientists have been learning about good foods: A whole lot of things that aren’t necessarily looked for in the labs are very vital nutrients. They never used to measure phytonutrients, differences in types of fibers, differences in types of Vitamin E or if synthetic vitamins have different activity in our bodies. As far as most MDs are concerned it’s all the same.
      Funny, though, your body IS able to recognize what it wants, needs, considers a poison or has lost its vital properties and needs to be replaced. For instance, when you take in a load of B vitamins your urine turns to highlighter ink. Tested in a lab they say it’s regular B’s. Problem is its catalytic potential is diminished. Could that be why your incredibly wise body cycled it out when it got something better?

  • W B Carlson MD

    I’m a bit confused by this article. Is Dr. Wiley refering to antibacterial soaps such as “Safeguard” or is he referring to the non-water requiring, alchol based hand sanitizers such as “Purell hand sanitizer” that have taken such a prominent place in health care settings. It’s been my understanding that the alcohol based hand sanitizers have been shown to have an effective antibacterial and antiviral action. In addition, no distinction is made in the article between antivral vs. antibacterial action. These distinctions are not inconsequential and should be addressed. As an aside, I have no vested interest in any hand washing product(s) except as they might help or not help my patients

    • Woody

      Sorry Dr. Carlson…but you’re obviously much too intelligent, sophisticated, and just plain LITERATE for this forum. Unless you can in some way turn your post into a political statement, it probably won’t garner much of a response. It has to bash either liberals in general, or “Obummer” in particular, if you want to be taken seriously.
      That being said…liberalism IS a mental disorder, and the POTUS is a flaming socialist, and I DO think that ANY amount of alcohol used on the hands will provide more anti-bacterial/viral protection than not. Short of using betadine, what could be better?

    • Dr. Mark Wiley

      Greetings, Vicki. My apologies if I was not specific enough. I am including a link here with the information that is available. I hope it can answer these questions for you, and perhaps more. In the future I will do my best to include links, when available.

      Thank you for participating in the conversation!

      Dr. Mark

    • coal miner

      Doctor W B Carlson,

      That using antibacterial soap is not only ineffective,but it gets rid of beneficial bacteria.Could this cause bacteria developed drug resistance?I know doctors used to over prescribed antibiotics for their patients for common colds.There was a article in the newspaper about people taking too many baths.That we may be too clean and it may not be healthy.Can you respond?

    • Mike In MI

      Doctor Carlson -

      I’d like to submit that your training in culture and universities left you focussing on the wrong end of the spectrum. The difference between a chronically sickly person and healthy ones is usually not how much antibiotic substances are in the blood of each.

      Usually what is more important is blood levels of cortisol (from stress and abstruse fears), how high above the RDAs their nutrient levels are and how well they can operate their minds in terms of the “Placebo Effect”. Of primary importance is how well can their nervous system coordinate the required neuroimmune functions which generate the immune response. How much were you taught about any of those?

  • eddie47d

    S.C. Your still crazy and paranoid. Hand soaps have been around long before Obama became President. David H.; You never miss an opportunity to plug the Libertarian Party even with hand soap. What a salesman! Manufacturers all over the world care more about making a buck than quality control . The USA isn’t much different anymore. Our companies don’t want to police themselves and their dirty policies(hype). Yet Dave H. defends these companies and wants to water down government controls over their ineffective products. So what do we expect. I work outside almost everyday and get dirty ,but stay away from liquid hand soaps. I do buy some organic products and they seem logically better;but when you mass produce any crop you have to have to apply insect control. Chemicals bother me so what would be the solution? (bring in more immigrants to pick the bugs off the corn stocks)? That last comment is just a dig against S.C. Take care you all!

    • DaveH

      Did you see any defense of Big Corporations in my comment Eddie? I was talking about Big Government. If you want to spend two dollars to buy insurance (government) that protects you from the loss of one dollar, then so be it. Knock yourself out. I prefer to spend my money wisely.

      • Jo

        Right with you Dave!

  • Que Jee


  • eddie47d

    Gotta love ya Dave. We just want big business and even some small business’s to stop dragging Americans down the rabbit hole . If they are not accountable they aren’t much better than big govt. If we keep getting ripped off with inferior products and big price increases from most companies then we are backed up against the wall. There aren’t many Americans making their own cars,soaps,clothes,ect. So sometimes govt. has to step in and thump them in the head. We can’t buy everything at the dollar store. We can’t even stop these insane bonuses and pensions these companies pay themselves. If our capitalist system can’t control itself any better than it has the we have big govt. Nether choice is platable but I won’t go after one without making the other accountable.

    • DaveH

      Unbelievable way of thinking – We can’t trust the Corporations whose products we don’t have to buy, but we can trust the Government which has the power to force us?
      Sorry Eddie, but your logic escapes me.

      • s c

        DaveH, if you think Edwardo’s ‘logic’ on this topic is fuzzy, check out his comments regarding the current net neutrality article. Corporations that rely on buyers like Ed to buy various items know there’s very little thought those buyers put into anything (whether it’s figurative or literal).
        Government control via buying or ideas is the same. And so it is with politics and followers, but that’s another matter.

    • Joe H.

      yeah boy the government sure thumpped the American car companies for making a crappy product and then raising the prices didn’t they? Oh, thats right, they had to let them keep on paying their 70.00 wage(includes benifits) I forgot that!!!Well at least they thumpped the unions for causing much of it though didn’t they? Oh, thats’s right Obummer had to have them to get elected didn’t he? proven by the sugar daddy deal they got from him on the health care dealio!!!!

  • CJ

    It’s funny how the human animal is the only one who acts in ways to kill the weakest of every other creature, then nurtures its own weak to survive. And we wonder why people get sicker while germs get stronger. Nature’s natural conclusion is survival of the strongest, and man seeks to defy that. Funny how nature is winning!

  • Vicki

    hmmm. The article says

    “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.”

    so how is it the article also says

    “According to the Associated Press (AP), a federal advisory panel found anti-bacterial soaps to be no more effective than regular soap and water.”

    So which is it. Are you saying that the anti backterials do or do not kill germs “on the spot”?

    If they do then they are demonstrably better than regular soap and water because they kill the bacteria right now and not just wash off the bacteria presuming you have water handy to wash with.

    I would prefer the anti bacterials because they kill the germs and the soapy part with water washes away the corpses.

    That and I like liquid soap better than the bar soap sitting there wet and collecting strange growing things in my tub :)

  • Carol

    Ever since they came out with “antibacterial” soap, my brother and I have tried to tell people. All soap is anitbacterial to some extent. I figure good ‘ol lye soap is probably the best.

    • Joe H.

      yup! We have become simpering weeklings compared to our ancestors and each succeding generation gets worse!!!!

  • Carlotta Dehlinger

    Every day I am always more blown away with on-line marketing based on seeing the way in which the the current generations communicate with their peers with the web. My 14 year old grandson just sent me a website they had put online to aggregate areas of interest for their group of friends. They needed to know how one could generate marketing on the website to create revenue. very poud.


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