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Francine Yep, M.D.Francine Yep, M.D.Family Medicine, Primary Care | PediatricsSutter East Bay Medical Foundation
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Francine Yep, M.D.Family Medicine, Primary Care | PediatricsSutter East Bay Medical Foundation

Dr. Yep has a special interest in babies, children and teens, women's health, caring for the whole family, wellness, humor and health.

Question of the Week

There are a ton of antimicrobial clothing and footwear options available right now. Is it good for my body to be encased in something that is antimicrobial? I've read a lot about a healthy microbiome.

Francine Yep, M.D. answered: Say "no thanks" and save your money. Common antibacterial agents like silver, triclosan, and trichlorocarban are found in germ- and odor-killing clothes and shoes. Researchers with the Swedish Chemical Agency found that 50 percent of triclosan and trichlorocarban rinses out after 10 rounds of washing. Up to 50 percent of silver rinses out after multiple washings. So the anti-germ properties won't stick around your clothes for long.

We are also worried that we don't know how these very small nano-particles of silver may impact our health. In addition, what happens after you wash your antimicrobial clothing? The rinse water with these anti-germ chemicals ends up in our water supply and environment -- how will this impact our wildlife, food and our health? We already have problems with livestock antibiotics and increased germ resistance to antibiotics. A similar thing may happen here.

And here's another thing to think about: we are learning more about how helpful germs keep our bodies happy and the environment healthy too. We don't want to knock off the good guys.

So, all in all, I would not recommend antimicrobial gear. Thanks for your great question.

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