In an effort to protect our health from microbes, antimicrobial chemicals are added to
consumer products and building materials such as face masks, clothing, cutting boards,
door handles, and countertops. They may be marketed as antimicrobial, antiviral,
antibacterial, or anti-odor. However, for most of these uses, their effectiveness to reduce
illness has not been demonstrated. The widespread use of antimicrobials can cause harm
to humans and beneficial microorganisms, and contribute to antibiotic resistance. They can end up in places where they don’t belong — like water, food, and human breast milk.