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7 Rip-offs You Need to Know About

From "germ-fighting" household cleaners to college textbooks, buyer beware.

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Scrupulous or stupid? Nobody wants to pick up a germ that will make her sick, but the multitude of products that claim to fight germs and boost the immune system don’t amount to much in the way of health. They are also a waste of money. In fact, some germ-fighting ingredients have been found to be toxic, like triclosan, which has been added to everything from toothpaste to makeup.

Ironically, the prevalence of these products may actually lead to hardier germs that will make more of us sick.

Want to avoid infection? Try basic hygiene, like washing your hands with good old-fashioned soap and water.

Lynn Parramore is an AlterNet senior editor. She is cofounder of Recessionwire, founding editor of New Deal 2.0, and author of "Reading the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture." She received her Ph.D. in English and cultural theory from NYU. She is the director of AlterNet's New Economic Dialogue Project. Follow her on Twitter @LynnParramore.