What does “Antibacterial” mean?
YES! Just what Reeko likes to see – a kid interested in learning! Check back here every week to see what the new Science Word of the Day is. Just think, after a year of this you’ll be a genius! This science word for today is: “Antibacterial”.
Bacteria are single cell organisms that can be found all over the place including in the air, on surfaces of objects, and even on your body. Sometimes they can cause bad diseases including tuberculosis, cholera, strep throat, meningitis, and pneumonia and sometimes the bacteria are spread by people not keeping their hands and bodies clean.
People used to wash bacteria off of their bodies using soap which loosens the dirt and allows the water to wash it away. Now people have begun using antibacterial products which don’t just clean but wipe out the bacteria by killing it.
There are some problems though. Bacteria can become resistant to antibacterial products. For instance, you may wipe off your kitchen counter using an antibacterial product. You may get most of the bacteria but almost certainly miss some of them. The ones that are left behind can develop an immunity to the antibacterial product which means the next time you wipe down the countertop, the antibacterial solution will not kill the bacteria.
Even worse, as the bacteria develop a resistance to the antibacterial product, they may also develop a resistance to antibiotics, a phenomenon called “cross resistance”.
Added to these problems is the residue that the antibacterial products leave behind. Often the antibacterial solution is later washed away and enters our water systems. Scientists are afraid that bacteria in the environment may come into contact with this contaminated water and develop further resistances to the antibacterial products.