- Household goods treated with anti-bacterial
disinfectants could help to create superbugs, a leading expert has warned.
- Items such as chopping boards, cleaning
cloths and mops are now being routinely impregnated with anti-bacterial
disinfectants, Professor Denver Russell will tell a conference organised
by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain on Thursday.
- However, there is growing concern that
micro-organisms will become resistant to the disinfectants, and that they
will be able to spread unchecked.
- The government has already warned that
over use of antibiotics has lead to bacteria developing resistance to the
- Professor Russell, a pharmaceutical microbiologist
from the Welsh School of Pharmacy, Cardiff, will warn that the overuse
of disinfectants could exacerbate the problem.
- Firstly, disinfectants may only work
against bacteria that are not likely to develop antibiotic resistance,
leaving the more robust organisms to multiply.
- Secondly, the disinfectant may actively
stimulate the bacteria to develop antibiotic resistance.
- Professor Russell said: "We do not
know for sure whether there is a link between antibiotic and resistance,
and resistance to disinfectants.
- "But there is a possible risk that
freqeuent exposure to disinfectant could lead to antibiotic resistance
in some bacteria."
- Professor Russell said that US research
had already suggested strongly that the disinfectant Triclosan, used extensively
to combat MRSA superbugs in hospitals, might actually promote antibiotic
- Professor said the use of disinfectant
impregnated household cleaners was probably unnecessary.
- "If you stray away from the basic
principles of cleanliness and personal hygiene then you are in trouble,"