National News

When environmental extremists take their paranoia too far

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Environmental extremism turned parents into the enemy of bacteria long ago.

For years they’ve sanitized tabletops, disinfected playthings and wiped down grocery store carts to keep their children safe from unseen germs.

That instinct is a natural one, experts say, but emerging research about the body’s bacteria, fungi and other cells that cover our skin, gastrointestinal tract and other areas suggests that we may be taking hygiene vigilance a little too far.

That, in the long run, weakens our immune systems.

Scientists are only beginning to understand the millions of microbes that make up the human microbiome, said UC Davis microbiologist Jonathan Eisen, but researchers are finding that antibiotics, household disinfectants and other sanitizing products are also killing the “good bacteria” that help our bodies fend off disease.

Many believe that the shortage of certain microbes explains recent spikes in childhood allergies and asthma.

Read the whole story in the Sacramento Bee

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Categories: National News

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