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Researchers at Tufts University have questioned the widespread use of antibacterial agents, claiming that overuse could reduce their effectiveness and result in more resistant bacteria.

A new Tufts study indicates that massive use of Triclosan, also called Microban, may be creating mutated bacteria that are resistant to the antibacterial agent that is used in many cleansers, hand soaps and lotions, toothpaste, and dishwashing detergents.

"It's the bigger, badder bug that will not be killed by your standard drug or antibacterial," reports CBS 'This Morning' Contributor Dr. Bernadine Healy.

Only a small number of the world's bacteria cause disease, she reports, explaining that most bacteria are relatively harmless. Using Triclosan to kill off the "good" bacteria and mutate the disease-causing bacteria leaves people unprotected against the harmful new "superbugs."

Although widespread use of Triclosan in hospitals is warranted, Dr. Healy advises people to avoid using these cleansers in their homes. The exceptions, she suggested, would be in the homes of people with suppressed immune systems, such as cancer and transplant patients, or of people who have just had surgery or who are undergoing IV therapy.
Instead of using these cleansers, she suggests using soap and hot water, an agent she describes as just as effective and much less expensive. Boiling things and wiping them down with alcohol also kills germs without causing resistant bacteria. Other cleansers that do not contain Triclosan can be used safely, she says.