Common Household Cleaners Are Creating Mutant SuperbugsS

We all know the overuse of antibiotics can create drug resistant bacteria, but a new study has confirmed that antibiotics aren't the only worry. Put down the Clorox wipes and walk away from the coffee table, now!

Scientists at the National University of Ireland tested the effectiveness of a common hospital and home disinfectant, benzalkonium chloride (BKC) on a easily found pathogen, pseudomonas aeruginosa. The pathogen tends to infect those already weakened by illness.

What they found is that the pathogen will grow stronger when exposed repeatedly to small amounts of disinfectant. So if you skimp out on how much Pine-Sol you add to your mopping bucket, you may be turning your home into a superbug petri dish.

While Fleming isn't saying we shouldn't use disinfectants, he does say they need to be used responsibly. Use the amount directed on the bottle and be aware that diluted disinfectant can build up on a surface, which then encourages the bacteria's growth. "For heaven's sake, rotate your disinfectant even if you like the smell and it's cheap, to prevent a build-up of residue"

Fleming's report is published in January's Microbiology.

Common Disinfectants Create Mutant Superbugs [Treehugger]