You shouldn't rely on hand sanitizers alone. They do not remove dirt and other contaminates as well as soap and water.

  • The "hygiene hypothesis", first introduced in the late 1980s, theorizes that a lack of early childhood exposure to infectious agents, symbiotic microorganisms (e.g., gut flora or probiotics), and parasites increases susceptibility to allergic diseases by suppressing natural development of the immune system resulting in increased allergies and asthma.
  • One concern is that bacteria will become resistant to antibacterial products like triclosan, rendering the products useless to those who actually need them, such as people with compromised immune systems.
  • Triclosan, a common antibacterial agent in soaps can cause environmental and health problems.
  • Too much sanitizer may kill good microbes, which help the immune system maintain healthy skin and resist disease. A 2009 study by UCSD scientists revealed a previously unknown mechanism by which a product of staphylococci inhibits skin inflammation.
    See American Academy of Dermatology Lecture description: Bacteria can be good for skin immunity.
  • Isopropanol is used to denature the ethanol in Purell and isopropanol is poisonous.
  • People who use Purell often may develop dry, cracked skin, because it removes natural oil.
Purell the most common brand contains:
Active Ingredients: Ethyl Alcohol 62%

Inactive Ingredients: Water, Isopropyl Alcohol, Carbomer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Isopropyl Myrisate, Fragrance

WATER WINS Water was the most effective at removing stomach bug viruses from the hands, Emory University researchers find. They planted stomach bug viruses on volunteers' fingers and allowed them to dry. The results, presented this week at the American Society for Microbiology Meeting in Orlando, Fla., showed the percentage of the viruses removed by water, hand soap, and alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Water removed 96 percent of the virus; liquid antibacterial soap removed 88 percent; and the hand sanitizer removed only 46 percent.


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last updated 27 Sep 2012