Antibacterial Products May Do More Harm Than Good
Posted on June 7, 2007 Comments (2)
Strange but True: Antibacterial Products May Do More Harm Than Good by Coco Ballantyne:
When a bacterial population is placed under a stressor—such as an antibacterial chemical—a small subpopulation armed with special defense mechanisms can develop. These lineages survive and reproduce as their weaker relatives perish. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is the governing maxim here, as antibacterial chemicals select for bacteria that endure their presence.
Pretty basic understanding of evolution makes the breeding of very resilient bacteria a fairly obvious result. One thing that might not be as obvious until it is mentioned is that by killing off the “weaker” bacteria you also provide a niche for the more resilient bacteria to multiply and fill the gap left by the bacteria that were not a problem that were killed off. Imagine if, instead of digging out the 3 dandelions you wanted to remove from your yard, you removed all plants from your yard (including those 3 dandelions). I would bet most often that would result in more dandelions not fewer as the dandelions were able to fill in the void of plants in the yard.