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The Editors

Does Big Soap Have Clean Hands?

Soap companies don’t seem to think soap really gets people, or dishes, clean. About half the liquid soaps they sell in the U.S. are fortified with bacteria-killing chemicals.

Soap companies say an abundance of evidence shows that these products kill more germs than ordinary soap does. That’s debatable, but it’s not even the point. There’s no benefit to killing germs unless the result is less illness. And there is no good evidence that antimicrobials protect people’s health. And increasing evidence suggests they may help make germs more powerful.