Good news for all you dirty bastards out there- another study has shown that being totally pristine or whipping out the Purell after touching everything you come in contact with can have a less than positive impact on an individual’s ability to fight germs.
The debate over what the proper balance of cleanliness is has raged on in this vein for a while, but a study found that antibacterial agents like triclosan can increase the risk children have of developing allergies and/or “hay fever,” and that higher levels of exposure to a chemical called bisphenol A (BPA) can hamper an adult’s ability to ward off disease and infection.
The University of Michigan School of Public Health measured the data, and added a bit of weight to the “a bit of dirt isn’t going to harm you” column:
“We found that people over age 18 with higher levels of BPA exposure had higher CMV antibody levels, which suggests their cell-mediated immune system may not be functioning properly,” study first author Erin Rees Clayton said in a university news release.
The investigators also found that children and teens with higher levels of triclosan were more likely to have been diagnosed with hay fever and other allergies.
Another author of the study noted that the chemicals could alter the microorganisms to which our bodies mount a response, leading to a possible inhibition of immune function, particularly in children.