We read a great article from NewsmaxHealth last month that confirmed some suspicions we’ve had: all the chemicals in hand sanitizers might be creating the problems they are supposedly preventing! According to this article, here are some of the reasons to avoid them. (You can read the whole article for more details.)
1. Triclosans: the FDA says triclosans are contributing to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics, and helping create superbugs such as MRSA. Studies also show that they can increase cancer cell growth and interfere with hormones.
2. Parabens: these are in many cosmetics even though they have been linked to a host of dangerous health problems including cancer, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruptions, and skin irritation.
3. Alcohol: Ethyl alcohol is absorbed into the skin or inhaled, and children have even gotten drunk by licking enough hand sanitizer off their hands. Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) is a known neurotoxin. It is also absorbed through the skin and is toxic even in small doses. Alcohol-free sanitizers aren’t a safe substitute either because of the other chemicals they contain, which can cause asthma and chronic dermatitis.
Alcohol also breaks down the skin and allows chemicals (even those in the hand sanitizer) to penetrate the skin easier. You know how they have hand sanitizer at the check-out stands in many grocery stores? This is a bad idea: using hand sanititizer and then handling your receipt can cause you to absorb up to 100 times more chemicals from your receipt (yep, your receipt contains BPA, a harmful chemical) than if you didn’t use the sanitizer first!
4. Fragrance: many fragrances contain phthalates to make the fragrance last longer, but they are known endocrine disrupters. Fragrances have been linked with allergies, respiratory distress, dermatitis, and possible effects on the reproductive system.
5. Antibiotic resistance. Hand sanitizers and similar products are increasing the development of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. If you must use a hand sanitizer, choose one that isn’t labeled “antibacterial.”
Additionally, hand sanitizer has a nasty effect on the immune system… they may also kill the good bacteria which keep disease-causing bacteria at bay. A 2011 study by the Centers for Disease Control found that healthcare workers who routinely used hand sanitizers increased their risk of developing norovirus by almost 600 percent.
Easy Alternatives to Chemical Hand Sanitizers
- Don’t use hand sanitizers (it’s probably better to do nothing than to use them)
- Choose a substitute like Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier.
- Try this recipe for hand cleanser.