Antiseptics for washing hands?!..ha

A few months ago, one of the very active members of TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) Maitree team and I were having a discussion over a coffee. The doctor in front of his name was not an addition due to a Ph.D; he's a doctor who deals with human body. However, whether his job in TCS is biological or technological, I do not know. But what I know is that he is a biology person at heart, for I could see that his outlook on all that existed in TCS, was hugely biology inclined and inspired by life.

At the discussion, he made a crisp comment about the usage of antiseptic soaps and soap solutions in our washrooms and even in our homes. He felt it was an overkill. But me being a Biotechnologist, could comprehend his concern with another dimension added.

We often use antiseptic soap solutions for washing hands after every meal, bath with antiseptic soaps, mostly to play safe/safer/safest! Here, I would also like to bring in my another persona, which is that of a business-man. The business guy in me says, that it is a long term win-win situation.
How? : When we wash and bath, mostly after having stayed in air conditioned rooms and offices, or even in clean homes, we don't actually carry a huge load of pathogenic micro-organisms, that needs a heavy antiseptic treatment. But we still do it. On the contrary, Nature has designed or may be the organisms have evolved, in such a way that organisms beneficial to us humans are more often than not weaker (less resistant to antiseptics) than those that are harmful. So everytime we use a good quantity of soap (unnecessarily beefed up with antiseptics), we add a considerable quantity of antiseptics into the waters, which finds its way into the ground water and also in the soils.

So, how does the bad businessman in me find a win-win in this!?

It's simply because all these unnecessary antiseptics, prevent us from getting infections and diseases, while also managing to kill the beneficial organisms in the environment. This slowly reduces our immunity against microbes that co-inhabit this world, which we must actually share with them. And while our immunity gets progressively weaker, the pathogenic (disease causing organisms) organisms get stronger as their immunity against the antiseptics become progressively higher with every cycle of their reproduction. And these guys reproduce real fast! Because, by the time we complete one session of intercourse, they will have produced millions of off-springs! And what worse, all of them stronger, while our kids are weaker!. So isn't this a win-win situation!? Your kids will buy stronger soaps, and their kids even stronger ones!!!

But the biotechnologist and the environmentalist in me writes this blogpost with a weird kind of paradoxical pain.

Too Technical?!

Usage of antiseptics for hand washing and bathing = wearing a helmet while sleeping, fearing a fall from bed and an injury.

Don't worry Nature has taken care of our immunity, nothing can possibly go wrong that easily. Relax...use a normal soap, or just water. Our fore-fathers did that, and managed to stay alive for me to be writing and you to be reading/commenting this blog.

Man....! Win-win....oh...just shut up you...

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