This from the New York Times Health section, June 20, 2000:
Earlier this month at a conference sponsored by the American Medical Association, Dr. Stuart B. Levy, director of the Center for Adaptation Genetics and Drug Resistance at Tufts University in Boston, voiced serious concerns about the more than 700 antibacterial products now crowding the marketplace. They do not, he said, kill all bacteria, only those that are most susceptible. They upset the natural balance of microorganisms and they leave behind the bacteria that are strong enough to survive and multiply. Furthermore, these surviving bacteria may evolve resistance to both antimicrobials and antibiotics that could be transferred to dangerous pathogens.
Last week, because of the growing concern about the emergence of antibiotic-resistant germs, the American Medical Association urged the government to step up regulation of antibacterial soaps, lotions and other household products.
Explaining the process two years ago in Scientific American, Dr. Levy wrote: ''Bacteria are a natural, and needed, part of life. Most live blamelessly. In fact, they often protect us from disease because they compete with, and thus limit the proliferation of, pathogenic bacteria. The benign competitors can be important allies in the fight against antibiotic-resistant pathogens.''