The Truth About Hand Sanitizers

Learn about the effects of hand sanitizer.

Author: Christin Sander, Health Writer

Many people use antibacterial products like hand sanitizer believing they are protecting themselves and their family against disease. Unfortunately, hand sanitizer poses risks that you may be unaware of. Hand sanitizer may increase the risk of illness and deplete the immune system, especially in children. In addition, these products have been the cause of several cases of accidental alcohol poisoning.

Triclosan, the main ingredient in most sanitizer, is an endocrine-disrupting compound (EDC), believed to negatively affect health by mimicking and affecting hormones. Studies have shown it also weakens the immune system. A *2010 study by the University of Michigan School of Public Health suggests children exposed to triclosan have a higher risk of developing asthma and allergies. Researchers found people under the age of 18 who have higher levels of triclosan were more likely to be diagnosed with allergies and hay fever.

The study's findings also support the “hygiene hypothesis” that states living in very hygienic, clean environments may impact exposure to microorganisms beneficial to the development of the immune system. Triclosan may play a role in changing the microorganisms in such a way that immune system development in childhood is negatively affected leading to more vulnerability to illness in the long-term.

Triclosan is used in many antibacterial products including soaps, toothpaste, hand sanitizer and other items. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated traces of it can be found in the urine of 75% of the population. Triclosan has been shown to increase resistance to antibiotics, leading to the potential for exposure to infections that don't respond to traditional treatment. Due to its potential to develop “super germs” and its endocrine disrupting properties, several consumer groups have called on the FDA to reevaluate its safety. A 2005 advisory panel to the FDA stated there is no evidence to support the idea that antibacterial soaps with triclosan are any more effective than plain soap and water.

Hand sanitizer contains a high amount of ethyl alcohol and has led to many accidental poisonings in children. A 2-ounce bottle has the equivalent amount of alcohol as four shots of vodka. Children who use hand sanitizer and place their hands in their mouths can accidentally be exposed to alcohol, and some cases of alcohol poisoning of toddlers have been reported.

There has also been an epidemic of teens using hand sanitizer to get high. Teens are learning to distill hand sanitizer alcohol. The high concentrations of methyl alcohol in sanitizer products are able to produce alcohol that is 120 proof. It is an inexpensive and legal way for teens to obtain alcohol. Most stores don't think twice about selling these products to minors.

There are natural ways to boost your immunity and avoid the potential dangers of hand sanitizers and other commercial antibacterial products. ImmunityPlus is an all-natural herbal formula that is safe for adults and children 12+. Use this 100% safe tincture to build a strong and healthy immune system.

* http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101129101920.htm

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