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Running head: HIGH ANTIOXIDANT DIETS AND COLON CANCER

The Efficacy of Advertised Antibacterial Components in Common Brands of Hand Soap


Samuel A. Bell and Katrina N. Marks
West Career and Technical Academy

Author Note
Samuel A. Bell, Biomedical Sciences, West Career and Technical Academy; Katrina N.
Marks, Biomedical Sciences, West Career and Technical Academy.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Katrina Marks,
Biomedical Sciences, West Career and Technical Academy, Las Vegas, NV, 89135. Contact:
katrinam565@westcta.ccsd.net

HIGH ANTIOXIDANT DIETS AND COLON CANCER

The Efficacy of Advertised Antibacterial Components in Common Brands of Hand Soap


Purpose Statement
This research project is designed to test the efficacy of the advertised antibacterial
components found in common brands of hand soap. The latest advertising trend in marketing has
been branding products as antibacterial, but many of them do not fit this description. In order
to be considered antibacterial, soaps must be able to destroy the bacteria on its intended substrate
as well as hinder further reproduction of the bacteria. This study will be conducted to determine
how much of the bacteria found on hands the antibacterial soap is able to kill and how well it
keeps more bacteria from growing.
Should this project reveal inconsistencies between the soaps antibacterial components
and its effectiveness, these results can be used to better inform consumers about their purchases.
The results can also be used to help inform people about the most effective way to wash their
hands. Research on this topic can be furthered by investigating hand washing methods that can
impact and increase efficacy such as duration, scrubbing techniques, and frequency.

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Literature Review
Over time, hand washings importance has increased due to increased awareness of
health issues and safety concerns. However, commercialized antibacterial products have used
misleading data to convince buyers to obtain their product. The focus on handwashing began
when Semmelweis, a scientist, discovered in the mid 1800s about its importance. He came across
this realization when he forced all doctors to wash hands before delivering babies, resulting in
that mortality due to streptococcal puerperal sepsis reduced by 19% (Teare, 1999). A century and
a half later, hand washing has become a major role in safety and health issues.
For instance, due to handwashing being a safety and health concern, a variety of tests and
research has been conducted on this topic. Hospitals have been observing issues regarding cross
contamination caused by a lack of handwashing by healthcare professionals. An observational
study was performed testing various hospital employees. Results showed that out of all the
potential opportunities of to wash their hands, only 48% of them were taken. Physicians and
nursing assistants were found as the worst culprits of this particular case (Pittet et al., 1999).
Regarding the use of soaps and the chemicals/ingredients included in soap, it was
discovered that triclosan and triclocarban are the main antibacterial components in soaps. A study
was performed on the efficacy of triclosan against regular soaps. The efficacy was tested on a
community level along with testing the potential harm it could cause. From this study, it shows
that the triclosan usage on the community level proved to be no more effective than plain soap in
hand bacteria reductions and prevention of illness symptoms (Aiello et al., 2007). An alternate
study was conducted to test the antibacterial component when compared to five normal toilet
soaps. For this study, four different strands of bacteria were grown and tested. With these strands,
the efficacy after 30 seconds on each was tested. Resulting from this study, soaps with the

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triclocarban agent were strongly correlated while soaps containing chloroxylenol were not as
strongly correlated (Kaliyadan et al., n.d.).
Concerning the use of antibacterial soap on human skin, studies have been tested to
determine the different effects of antibacterial soap on users who use the product and those who
do not. For a study in particular, they tested the use of antibacterial soaps on six regions of 132
patients comparing to 92 controls who avoided the use of antibacterials. From this study, it
concluded that antibacterials showed a 62% reduction and reduced Staphylococcus aureus
everywhere but the axilla (Voss, n.d.). Studies have shown that it is better to use antibacterial
products due to the decrease in certain bacteria that could potentially be harmful to the human
body.
There are still gaps in knowledge about the effects of handwashing in general and the
efficacy of soaps advertised antibacterial components, though. While triclosan proved to be
more effective than regular soap in killing bacteria in a community study, scientists have yet
prove the connection between soap brands advertised efficacy and the reality of these claims
(Aiello et al., 2007) . Scientists are also still unsure about triclocarbans potential of inhibiting
human enzymes on the skin in killing off the bacteria as well as hand soaps antiviral capacities
because most studies have focused on antibacterial efficacy. It is also hard to conjecture the
efficacy of the soaps on a live human because the lab tests conducted thus far have not been
studied in vivio, or on a live subject. Previous studies have been conducted on bacteria collected
and cultured in dishes (Kaliyadan et al., n.d.). Last but not least, scientists are still closing the
gap in knowledge about the widespread prevalence of antibacterial components in soaps and the
rise of antibacterial-resistant strands of bacteria. Studies thus far have shown that the presence of

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antibacterial agents in the soaps have led to increased amounts of resistant strands, but no
estimation as to what rate they increased (Voss, n.d.).
For over a hundred and fifty years, handwashing has played a crucial role in maintaining
both patient and public health. However, with shifts in claims made by advertising, changes in
the frequency and efficacy of this necessity have been made. These trends warrant the further
investigation of the claims of antibacterial agents and their effectiveness in killing and preventing
the growth of bacteria and their actual ability to do so.
Hypothesis
If antibacterial soap is applied to a cultured bacteria plate, it will kill more bacteria and
keep new colonies from growing better than regular hand soap. The antibacterial component in
the soap should make it more effective.
Methodology
The study will be conducted as an experimental investigation with the presence of the
antibacterial component or not as the explanatory variable and the efficacy of the soap in killing
the bacteria and preventing the growth of new colonies as the response variable.
Safety Concerns
There are no safety concerns for this investigation. The only precaution is to maintain
patient confidentiality in the investigation of medical records.
Materials Used
The materials required for this investigation are as follows:
1. Gloves
2. Goggles
3. Aprons or lab coats

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4. Sterile swabs
5. Incubators
6. Inoculating loops
7. Petri dishes
8. Agar
9. Sharpies or permanent markers
10. Bunsen burner
11. 5 brands of antibacterial hand soaps
12. 5 brands of regular hand soaps
13. Parafilm
14. Pipettes
15. Lab notebook
16. Colored pencils
Control
For the control, we will inoculate and culture an agar plate with bacteria. We will apply
only regular hand soaps to it to compare how effective it is in killing the bacteria. This will be
compared to the antibacterial soaps results in the experimental group.
Data Collection and Recording
Part I - Advertisement
1. Select ten different brands of soaps, being sure to include both antibacterial and regular
types and obtain them.
2. List the ingredients (active and inactive) in each soap. For active ingredients, list the
concentrations.

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3. For each soap being tested, analyze what advertising strategies are being used and how
reliable the present data is.
4. Determine if each soap in the investigation is advertised as being antibacterial or as
having antibacterial qualities or not.
5. Using the information on the soap brands advertisements and labels, create a table listing
the specific soap brand, whether or not advertised antibacterial components, and results.
Part II - Antibacterial Efficacy
1. Before working with any bio-hazardous materials in the lab such as bacteria, be sure to
wear proper safety equipment such as gloves, goggles, and aprons/lab coats.
2. Prepare agar plates to swab bacteria onto
1. Obtain 1.2 grams of nutrient agar powder for each dish being prepared.
2. Mix agar powder into 60 mL of water for each 1.2 grams of agar being used.
3. Bring agar solution to a boil for one minute, making sure that the agar does not
boil over. The solution should be clear and the powder should be fully dissolved.
4. While the solution is cooling, make sure that the petri dishes are sterilized.
5. Open the petri dish and carefully pour just enough of the agar solution to cover
the bottom dish with a single layer.
6. Quickly close the petri dish to keep out unwanted airborne bacteria.
7. Keep the dishes stored upside down in a refrigerator until the agar is set to a
gelatin-like substance. Agar plates can be stored in the refrigerator for several
months before use.

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3. Select one student to inoculate the bacteria from. Without having the student wash their
hands, use a sterile swab to inoculate bacteria from the surface of their hands and gently
wipe the swab onto an agar plate. Use a different swab to inoculate each plate.
4. Incubate sample bacteria.
1. Be sure to keep the incubator at the desirable temperature (4 degrees Celsius) in
order to allow for the best growth results.
5. Isolate and identify bacteria
1. Perform a streak plate for each bacterial plate for each of the soaps being tested.
1. Prepare a new nutrient dish by labeling it with the four quadrants going in
a clockwise direction.
2. Open the plate containing the bacteria and hold dish at an angle over the
bottom of the dish.
3. Lightly touch the bacteria with an inoculating loop to collect a small
sample.
4. Open the new dish and hold the lid at an angle over the bottom of the
plate.
5.

Start in the first quadrant and liberally spread the bacteria around the
quadrant, passing into quadrant two several times.

6. Spread the bacteria over quadrant two, passing into quadrant three
making sure to pass through fewer times than in Step 5.
7. Spread the bacteria over quadrant three, passing into quadrant three
making sure to pass through fewer times than in Step 6.

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8. Spread the bacteria over quadrant four, being sure to not pass into any
other quadrant.
6. Note the results in your laboratory journal.
7. Apply 15 mL of one soap to one dish of bacteria, tilting the dish slowly to spread it over
the agar. Repeat for all soaps.
8. Once the soaps are applied to each dish, secure the dishes with parafilm and leave in the
incubator at 37 until next class period.
9. At the beginning of the class period, observe how much of the bacteria had been killed
off.
10. Take pictures of each dishs condition and draw pictures and/or diagrams of each dish in
the lab notebook.
11. Do not apply any new soaps or products to the plates. Reseal with parafilm if necessary
and leave to incubate until the next class period.
12. Observe the inhibition of bacterial growth.
13. Take pictures of each dishs condition and draw pictures and/or diagrams of each dish in
the lab notebook.

Data Analysis Method


1. For each of the soaps tested, record their antibacterial efficacies and results in the table
created in Part I.
2. Compare the advertised antibacterial components of each brand of soap to their actual
efficacy when tested in the lab and analyze any discrepancies between the two..
3. Determine the validity of soaps antibacterial advertisement claims.

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References
Aiello, A., Larson, E., & Levy, S. (2007). Consumer Antibacterial Soaps: Effective or Just
Risky? Retrieved October 5, 2014, from
http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/45/Supplement_2/S137.short
Howard, J., Jowett, C., Faoagali, J., & Mckenzie, B. (2014). New Method for Assessing Hand
Disinfection Shows That Pre-operative Alcohol/chlorhexidine Rub Is as Effective as a
Traditional Surgical Scrub. Retrieved October 5, 2014, from
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25123633
Kaliyadan, F., Aboulmagd, E., & Amin, T. (n.d.). Antimicrobial activity of commercial
antibacterial handwashes and soaps. Retrieved October 5, 2014, from
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4144231/?report=classic
Pittet, D., Mourouga, P., & Perneger, T. (1999). Compliance with Handwashing in a Teaching
Hospital. Retrieved October 5, 2014, from http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=712481
Teare, L. (1999). Hand washing. Retrieved October 5, 2014, from
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1115132/
Voss, J. (n.d.). Effects of an Antibacterial Soap on the Ecology of Aerobic Bacterial Flora of
Human Skin. Retrieved October 5, 2014, from http://aem.asm.org/content/30/4/551.short