Study: Antibacterial ingredients in dust linked to antibiotic resistance

Scientists have established a link between antimicrobial substances like triclosan and levels of antibiotic resistant genes in dust particles, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

As antibiotic resistance continues to increase and concerns about the arrival of a post-antibiotic era swell, scientists are searching for new ways to curb resistance and limit the threat of superbugs.

Previously, antimicrobials present in hand soap and other personal care products like cosmetics that are typically flushed down the drain have been linked to the presence of antibiotic resistant genes in waste water. For the new study, researchers sought to determine whether a comparable scenario could be at play in the dust microbiome.

Scientists analyzed dust samples from an indoor athletic and educational facility and detected six links between antimicrobial chemicals and antibiotic resistant genes in dust microbes. For example, samples containing higher levels of triclosan were equipped with a gene implicated in resistance to several antibiotics.

On Sept. 2, the United States Food and Drug Administration issued a ban on over-the-counter antiseptic products containing one or more active antimicrobial ingredients. Included on the list was triclosan, which can be found in a myriad of personal care products. Manufacturers have one year to comply with the FDA's ruling by either reformulating products or taking them off the market.

More articles on infection control: 
Chickenpox cases down since introduction of 2-dose vaccine 
California boy contracts flesh-eating bacteria; football helmet may be to blame 
Finding the right formula for HAI reduction success

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