Hand Sanitizer Dangers


| 10/6/2014 2:14:00 PM


Keeping a bottle of hand sanitizer at the ready can come in handy in situations where you can’t access soap and water, but using it too often can come with some risks. Consider the following hand sanitizer dangers and make sure your hand sanitizer ingredients are safe and non-toxic.

Soap vs. Sanitizer

Most doctors and researchers agree: soap wins hands-down over hand sanitizer. Cleaning with soap and water is better at reducing germs than hand sanitizer, and hand sanitizer cannot be used effectively in many situations. If your hands are visibly dirty or greasy, hand sanitizer just does not work.[1] It is designed to kill bacteria, but doesn’t remove dirt and debris, which is often how toxins and infections are spread. When washing your hands, the ingredients used are rinsed off immediately, as opposed to hand sanitizers, which can be absorbed through the skin.

Harmful Hand Sanitizer Ingredients

While we want to keep our hands clean, we don’t necessarily need antibacterial hand sanitizer or hand soap. Many products that are labeled “antibacterial” contain chemicals that are detrimental to our health.

Triclosan, a commonly used agent, is an endocrine disruptor that interferes with the proper functioning of vital hormones like thyroid hormones.[2] It is linked to detrimental effects on the nervous system, and is linked to allergies and asthma.[3] Beyond its direct effect on your health, it may also contribute to antibiotic resistance.

Triclosan can be absorbed through the skin and has been found in the urine of 75 percent of Americans sampled.[2] But for all of that risk, there’s not even sufficient evidence showing that it is effective.[2] The FDA is working to review the research on triclosan and has concluded that it is no more effective than regular soap and water at removing bacteria and provides no additional benefits.[4] However, it may take time to remove this ingredient from products on the market, so check labels to make sure you’re not exposing yourself to it.



Beware of Fragrance

Many hand sanitizers also list “fragrance” as an ingredient. This term can mask a long list of potentially harmful chemicals, including phthalates. Phthalates are also endocrine-disruptors and affect the activity of estrogen and androgens in our body. Even at low concentrations, phthalates are associated with detrimental effects on the development of the male reproductive system as well as increased risk of breast cancer.[5]

Doug
10/7/2014 6:39:44 AM

Or if you must use hand sanitizer, then use rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol. It is as effective as the active ingredient in hand sanitizers (ethyl alcohol). Then you can be sure you aren't getting any extra chemicals - just isopropyl and water. Just be sure you don't get the watered-down version which only has 70% isopropyl, get 80% or above.




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