National center for infection control professionals, healthcare experts, manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and consumers focused on best practices in hand hygiene and hand sanitizer products

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hotels and Hygiene. Real Scary!

Click on the link to this story courtesy of FOX News affiliate in Atlanta ..You'll want to check this out before you check in to another hotel room---and you'll definitely want to have something in hand to prepare yourself

Schools Up in Flames Thanks to Alcohol Hand Sanitizers

Courtesy of the Ontario Office of The Fire Marshal
First paragraph reads:

It has come to the attention of the Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) that students in some schools are misusing alcohol-based hand sanitizers. In one incident, students placed a small quantity of an alcohol-based gel sanitizer on the floor, turned off the lights and then lit it on fire. It is not known whether the product was obtained through the school or was brought in by the students.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What Purell Says about Ability to Kill MRSA

In a call from the owner of a jan/san company in NC, I was told that he was told that Purell nor any other alcohol-based hand sanitizer actually kills MRSA---and he wanted to know more about alcohol-free products. I was admittedly a bit stumped, as the content on Purell's website SEEMS to suggest that it does. On a downloaded .pdf from the Purell website--the FAQ includes the following:

What types of hand sanitizers are effective against MRSA?
The CDC and other public health organizations state very clearly to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

I was intrigued about the wording of the answer..after all-its otherwise passing the buck to the CDC's generic and 12-year old comment that had nothing to do with the question about MRSA specifically. So I phoned Johnson&Johnson's Purell subsidiary and spoke to a nice fellow named Dave Hicks.

I specifically asked if Purell kills MRSA. He said "well, the CDC says..." and then I stopped him and said..."Just tell me if there is documentation that says Purell (GOJO) tested for the ability to kill MRSA."
His response? "Well, we're regulated by the FDA and the CDC, and there are certain things we can't say...but I'm going to send you our corporate policy comment and that should answer your question." David then sent me a document that displayed a 2001 independent lab study that listed a few dozen pathogens, including staphylococcus aureus (methilin resistant) or MRSA. According to David, "the interpretation of the report is that Purell can protect against MRSA, but it doesn't kill MRSA."

So this means that if you apply it, and come into contact with MRSA before the Purell dries in your hand, it will act as a defensive shield. He reminded me that Purell dries in a matter of seconds, and then its no longer active in killing germs.

Alcohol Hand Sanitizers : They Don't Kill MRSA

According to a Wall Street analyst...and publisher of a newsletter called ChangeWave. Click on the link

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Michigan Jail fighting MRSA with Alcohol-Free Hand Santizers

Excerpt from Adrian Daily Telegram (Adrian, Michigan)

Jail fighting MRSA

ADRIAN — Responding to several recent cases of inmates infected with MRSA, an antibiotic- resistant bacteria, the Lenawee County Jail is installing 18 dispensers of hand sanitizers.

“It’s our attempt to be proactive in this MRSA outbreak,” jail commander Dennis Steenrod told county commissioners Thursday during a committee meeting. “I’m confident it will help solve the problem.”

The dispensers are free, but the criminal justice committee was asked to approve $1,700 for a year’s supply of an alcohol-free sanitizer that will be available to inmates as well as corrections officers. Steenrod said inmates who are diagnosed with MRSA infections are being isolated from other prisoners and their cells sanitized.

Sheriff Larry Richardson told the committee that a greater effort is being made to disinfect prisoners being brought into jail before they are placed in cellblocks.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

FDA Science Board: Our Flaws Put Lives at Risk

We've been shouting that both FDA and CDC insights are perversely outdated--and insofar as hand sanitizing products, which are now used by 1 in 4 people, both agencies remain in the stone age as they continue to fail to recognize that alcohol-free products, which have been coming to market for the past 3-5 years, are safer and certainly as effective.

Alcohol hand sanitizers like Purell do kill germs, but they also kill industrial floor wax. Wow. If the government agencies don't "get it", at least consumers do, --a message that has resonated with several national retailers, including Target, that are systematically introducing alcohol-free hand sanitizer products

From Dec 1 NY Times..

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 — The nation’s food supply is at risk, its drugs are potentially dangerous and its citizens’ lives are at stake because the Food and Drug Administration is desperately short of money and poorly organized, according to an alarming report by agency advisers.

The report, made public on Friday, is the latest and perhaps most far-reaching in a string of outside assessments that have concluded that the F.D.A. is poorly equipped to protect the public health.

It was written by three members of the F.D.A. Science Board, an advisory panel that reports directly to the agency’s commissioner, Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach. The three authors in turn had 30 scientific advisers.

The report concludes that over the last two decades, the agency’s public health responsibilities have soared while its appropriations have barely budged. The result is that the F.D.A. is falling farther and farther behind in carrying out its responsibilities and understanding the science it needs to do its many jobs.

“F.D.A.’s inability to keep up with scientific advances means that American lives are at risk,” the report stated.

Barbara J. McNeil, a professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School and one of the report’s authors, said she was stunned at the agency’s sorry state.

The agency often misses significant product arrivals because its computers are so poor that they cannot distinguish between shipments of road salt and those of table salt, the report said.

Experts Say : Stay away from fragrance hand sanitizers

Exerpted from 2003 study by Kovach and Associates:

"...Some manufacturers add fragrance to their hand sanitizer formulation. Their logic is that the formulation is more appealing to caregivers and patients. However, a review of advantages and disadvantages listed in Kovach & Associates' annual survey of 120 directors of nursing across the United States would suggest otherwise....Fragrance becomes a problem due to the potential among caregivers and patients for allergic reactions to different fragrances. Directors of nursing cited fragrance as a factor in causing nausea in both patients and caregivers. A fragrance-free product is preferable. Similar survey comments regarding fragrance in the healthcare environment were seen in quotes associated with healthcare personnel hand washes, lotions and liquid body soaps..... so high fragrance levels can become a problem for caregivers and patients.

We have also heard some objections to the use of dyes in some formulations. These can leave stains or residue on caregiver and patient hands and clothes. It would be best to use a product that has no color additives or dyes in its formulation to avoid staining and possible skin irritation...."

British hospitals are being urged to "lock up" their hand sanitizers

November 30, 2007


British hospitals are being urged to "lock up" their hand sanitizers because a growing number of patients have become sick from drinking the alcohol-based solutions.

In today's issue of the British Medical Journal, toxicologists report there has been a spike in poisoning cases after hospitals started placing hand-sanitizer dispensers at bedsides and near ward entrances as a way to reduce common infections.

In some cases children or confused adults downed the noxious fluid, mistaking it for water. In other cases it was intentionally consumed by substance abusers trying to get high.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

One of the smartest guys in the industry..

When it comes to hand hygiene and related products, Allen Soden might be one of the world's top 5 experts. This article is one of many that he's written--deserves to be embraced!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Newsweek : Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizers

Another member of the choir heard from..from October 26 Newsweek Magazine, reminding us that CDC's current recommendations i.e. alcohol-based hand sanitizers were published more than a decade ago, and were intended for health care facilities (hospitals).

Newsweek points out that these products are not what they're cracked up to be, aside from causing dry and cracked hands.

Having found more than 100 articles making the same exact observations, we can only wonder who at CDC is being wined and dined by Purell's lobbyists. And also leading us to wonder why public officials in local communities continue to mimmick the same, outdated advice. Could it have anything to do with their being influenced by local Purell distributors? Or maybe its because they think that if this product (and all other alcohol-based sanitizers) is strong enough to kill industrial floor wax, it must be a great product to use to kill germs on our kids hands?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Purell Kills Germs & Floor Wax Too!

Refreshing to know that Purell's alcohol-based hand sanitizers kill germs, and equally effective in destroying that pesky industrial floor wax typical to the kind used in hospitals, or perhaps even the floor wax you use at home.

Is that what you want to put into your, or your children's hands???

Extracts of Q&A from Pfizer's website:

Is there a problem with Purell® instant hand sanitizer staining floors?

Because alcohol is a solvent (Purell® Instant Hand Sanitizer contains 62% Ethyl Alcohol), it can dissolve floor wax and leave a dull or discolored spot if dripped on the floor. In certain situations, product may be "splashed" onto the floor from the user's hands as it is being rubbed in.

If Purell can dissolve commercial floor wax, imagine what it will do to the lipids in your skin cells.

The recommendation of the CDC is that recurrent use of alcohol based gel hand sanitizers is not recommended without adequate hand washing between uses. The reason for this is that gels leave a biofilm on skin surfaces that trap dirt and potentially pathogenic organisms. Effectiveness decreases with added use and alcohol based products are ineffective with the third use without washing your hands.

Since Purell and other alcohol gel products have no residual germ killing protection, you will pick potentially pathogenic organisms as soon as the alcohol dries. For some protection, alcohol based hand sanitizer need to be used every 5 minutes when in a dirty environment. Remember, studies have shown that with the third use, alcohol gel based products without a hand wash with soap and water are ineffective in killing re-colonized germs. Soil also inactivates the effects of alcohol.

Purell will not work in the presence organic soil (dirt or grease). This is why they tell you to wash your hands often.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Former US Secretary of Health and Human Services Speaks Out About MRSA

Recent media reports are misleading and grossly underestimate both the ways in which MRSA can be transmitted and the preventative measures currently available, according to Tommy G. Thompson, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and former four-term Governor of Wisconsin.

Thompson added, I am deeply concerned about MRSA and equally concerned about the misinformation being shared. MRSA is easily spread through direct contact but also via shared objects and hard surfaces. I worry about a misconception that it is only contractible if you have direct contact with someone with the infection. That is simply not the case.

Thompson continued, What has been most frustrating in recent weeks is the lack of attention paid to proven preventative measures that are currently available. The cost in terms of both human lives and financial burden is very real and also very preventable if proper disinfection techniques are adopted by closed population institutions such as hospitals, schools and prisons..."

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Manufacturer Extends Hands--Bravo

We've noticed more than a few manufacturers putting out 'mat' press releases and attempting to position themselves as 'altruistic' but otherwise promoting their products in effort to exploit the MRSA outbreak...We picked up below from Reuters--notice the tact--very interesting and perhaps astute observations made about Centers For Disease Control recommendations--and the fact that everyone is subscribing to recommendations that are outdated by more than 12 years . Bravo to this group for pointing out the obvious...alcohol-based products should be sent up in flames--and government officials that are reading from decade-old 'playbooks' should toss them into the fire also...and GET WITH IT!!! Our kids are the most important asset we have--not protecting the interests of large corporations that are peddling garbage products!




November 8, 2007

re: MRSA School Scare

Every day brings new reports of students becoming infected – and in some cases dying – of MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), a potentially lethal form of staph infection that’s easily acquired in public schools, universities and colleges. The most prominent symptoms include skin abscesses and/or infections.

While MRSA is more pervasive within health care facilities and attacks those with low immune systems, children and young adults in school and public environments are equally susceptible, as the bacterium is spread easily through skin-to-skin contact, open cuts, abrasions, and contact with contaminated surfaces.

On October 16, the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), reported 94,360 MRSA infections and 18,650 MRSA deaths in 2005, more than the number of AIDS-related deaths in the same year. Most experts expect that once tallied, MRSA-related statistics for 2006 and 2007 will prove to be considerably higher.

Even more disturbing, officials representing the CDC, the country’s foremost source of information for best hand hygiene practices, have acknowledged that’s it recommendations, first published in 1996 and specifically intended for health care institutions, have not been updated with regard to the use of rinse-free hand sanitizer products.

Although the CDC actually cautions against the use of alcohol-based products in particular situations, it remains steadfast by exclusively promoting alcohol-based sanitizers as the alternative to soap and water; all despite the fact that in recent years, equally effective and altogether safer, alcohol-free (non-flammable and non-toxic) hand sanitizer technologies have been developed and introduced to the market place.

Selective, and responsibly manufactured alcohol-free sanitizers have proven to be not only as efficient in killing MRSA and other common germs and viruses, but certain of these products remain effective longer, kill bacteria that alcohol cannot, and safer to use in any environment.

Most importantly, given that schools, universities, and licensed day care facilities throughout the country have been outright banning alcohol-based products due to their inherent dangers and noxious side effects, including skin irritations and risk of infection when exposed to open cuts, the current MRSA outbreak has created a dangerous conundrum for students, teachers, parents, and our communities.

The good news is that MRSA, and most other easily transmitted germs and viruses can be avoided with simple precautionary steps. The most essential include frequent hand washing with soap and water, and proper bandaging of cuts and abrasions. But when washing with soap and water isn’t readily convenient, appropriate hand sanitizing products should be applied.

Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizers -- The Popular Choice

Our product is called Soapopular®; and includes a full line of independently tested, alcohol-free, rinse-free, and fragrance free foaming hand sanitizers. First introduced to the Canadian marketplace three years ago in conformance with strict medical and food compliant guidelines, Soapopular® is FDA-registered and now available throughout the US and worldwide.

We’re passionate about the quality of our product, and we’re determined that alcohol-free is the most logical and most pragmatic hand sanitizing alternative. We‘re ready to put our resources into your hands, and offer a national proposition.

  • We invite any official school administrator or licensed day care facility to contact us via our website, or our toll free hotline and receive complimentary case(s) of Soapopular® alcohol-free hand sanitizer for use throughout your organization.*
  • We invite all proactive national corporations or local businesses to work with us in sponsoring the delivery of dispenser-based hand sanitizing solutions to schools in the communities that you serve.

Soapopular® is dedicated to promoting responsible hand hygiene practices and helping to eliminate the spread of MRSA. We’re determined to keep our schools and workplaces protected, and our kids safe.

Be popular by staying healthy. Contact us to learn more.

The Board of Directors

MGS Soapopular, Inc.

Toll Free: 888-703-7941

US License:

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Spot On-Germ Off -Responsible Advertising

Adam Meyer, a Florida-based creative advertising expert and principal of Crystal Clear Art has done a great job of capturing the essence for Soapopular's alcohol-free hand sanitizer awareness campaign..

If your screen can't zoom in--the image displays a photo of what hands look like after repeatedly applying alcohol based sanitizers, and references 12,000 reported cases of alcohol poisoning in children directly attributed to alcohol hand sanitizers..."

The image on the right is the alcohol-free, kid friendly alternative-- effective at killing the same germs, including MRSA, but without the alcohol. And this product is applied via a foamy dispenser, its antiseptic and hypoallergenic..and no fragrance.

Nice work Adam!!! Donny Deutche is looking for you!

Triclosan-NOT Popular---Again...

A company called Invisible Armor, which last year introduced its triclosan-based "kid safe" hand sanitizer put out a press release more recently that was carried by a retail industry newsite RetailNet. The coverage claims that this product is being carried at various retailers, including Kroger stores, HEB, Brookshire Brothers, Meijer Stores and Walgreens.

We don't know whether any of these stores is actually carrying it--or in how many locations--we do know that Walgreens did carry another triclosan-based products with the brand name Vick's--a P&G product that was censured by the FDA early last month.

While we know that the MRSA scare is opening a big door to hand sanitizer manufacturers, we can only once caution people to understand the distinction between various products. Below comment from blogger Debra McDuffee does a very nice job of providing a researcher/mom's perspective on this particular product....Re-iterating that Triclosan is NOT Popular...

Invisible Armor: Good for killing germs?

Posted: May 10th 2007 9:15AM by Debra McDuffee
Filed under: General Health, Health and Technology, Healthy Habits, Natural Products, Healthy Products

That's Fit has recently been alerted to the existence of a product called Invisible Armor. It works much the same way an alcohol-based hand sanitizer works, by killing the germs. Its unique quality? The active ingredients remain on your hands, killing germs long after the product has dried.

Sounds great? Maybe, but let's take a closer look.

The active ingredient is triclosan, which is the active ingredient in most anti-bacterial soaps. The very ingredient that has been blamed with creating super-bugs, bacterias that are resistant to antibiotics. It also kills off the beneficial bacteria that the body needs to thrive.
It has also been found that triclosan, combined with chlorine from tap water, can create a human carcinogen.

Super-bugs AND cancer? No thanks, triclosan most definitely is not for me and my family.

What does this writer think should be considered a so popular hand sanitizing product---we're slightly biased, but we do like a product called Soapopular

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

NY Times: Triclosan in hand sanitizers: NOT Popular

While I've never been a big fan of the slant that the NY Times puts on the news, I guess someone has to be the "otherside of the coin" to the Bill O'Reilly-style of "fair and balanced reporting".

With that said, today's Science section "Germ Fighters May Lead to Hardier Germs" provides stark and scary insight regarding the use of Triclosan in hand sanitizing products.

This is the ingredient that P&G incorporates as the "primary germ killing juice" within Vick's 'alcohol-free hand sanitizer"--the same product that was censured by the FDA in September for making false efficacy claims..

Here are excerpts from Tara Parker-Pope's coverage

"...But some recent laboratory studies suggest that antibacterial products containing triclosan may not be the best way to stay clean. Instead of wiping out bacteria randomly, the way regular soap or alcohol-based products do, triclosan may inhibit the growth of bacteria in a way that leaves a larger proportion of resistant bacteria behind, according to lab studies at Tufts and Colorado State Universities, among others.

But Allison E. Aiello, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, says the laboratory evidence against triclosan is compelling enough to raise questions about the products.

The question about cleaners containing triclosan is whether the agent kills germs randomly or whether it promotes the same selection pressures that can lead to antibiotic resistance. The worry is not that bacteria might become resistant to triclosan. The fear is that the same bacteria that resist triclosan can also resist certain antibiotics. And a handful of lab studies have suggested that triclosan may select for resistant bacteria.

“Here you have a substance that has been widely used in hospital settings and household settings,” said Herbert P. Schweizer, associate director for research at the department of microbiology, immunology and pathology at Colorado State University, who conducted some of the lab studies showing triclosan resistance. “The exposure to this widely used antimicrobial caused emergence of multidrug resistance in laboratory strains.”

That studies of triclosan use haven’t shown a resistance problem in the community doesn’t mean it won’t happen, said Dr. Stuart B. Levy, a microbiology professor at Tufts who is president of the Alliance for Prudent Use of Antibiotics.

“I’m the first to say we haven’t seen a difference yet in the home,” Dr. Levy said. “We know from antibiotic data that if it happens in a lab it will eventually happen outside the lab."\

Tara writes a daily health blog for the NY Times--and we're simply waiting for her to visit this blog so that she can learn more about safer and effective alternatives to legacy alcohol-based products.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Center for Disease Control-Hand Hygiene

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

  • Children contract approximately 6-10 colds per year; adults get 2-4
  • It is estimated public schools lose $30-$40 per day from their budget for each day a student is absent
  • Teachers lose an average of 5.5 days per year due to contagious illnesses
  • Every year, more than 165 million school days are lost due to illness. It is believed that a great number of these days could be reduced if children merely washed their hands properly and regularly.
  • When washing with soap and water is not readily convenient, use of [properly researched] hand sanitizing products is recommended

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Superbugs, MRSA, Cold & Flu Season

From Genetic Engineering and Technology News..

Something is amiss in the world when you hear that there are "superbugs" that are killing more people than ever. Whatever happened to a good old fashion cold? Welcome to 2007.

Every day there are news reports about students contracting the superbug in schools, boarding schools, colleges and universities nationwide. With school systems and day care facilities throughout the country banning alcohol-based hand sanitizing products due to inherent dangers of those products, the current outbreak of MRSA in schools throughout the country has created a conundrum for teachers, the health care industry, students, parents and local communities seeking safe hand hygiene products that are effective against MRSA and other staph-related pathogens. Full story via the posting link..

Chief Medical Officer/Kalamazoo Michigan Raises Hands : Not Popular: Alcohol Hand Sanitizer :

I don't know why we always seem to stress alcohol -based hand sanitizes. It
may be to keep public education easier/ less complicated. These products
also have had more field testing and are relatively inexpensive. I
personally don't like them because I have eczema and it really drys and
inflames my skin ( increasing my risk for infection!).

The best answer to your question is to contact the product manufacturer and
ask for the product specifications.

Richard M.Tooker MD, MPH
Chief Medical Officer / Deputy Health Officer Chief Medical Examiner
Kalamazoo County

Monday, October 22, 2007

Michigan Dept. of Corrections: Alcohol-Hand Sanitizers as combustible as napalm

“ While not statistically validated, experimentation was performed using six bottles of hand sanitizing gels, foams and liquids. The MSDS sheets for these products listed the flammability ratings of "3" and "4" (extremely flammable). Ignition testing produced the following results: Instantaneous combustion occurred; there was visible heat radiation, with no actual flame; and boiling was evident and visible. The facility fire inspector stated that he compared the combustion of alcohol-based hand sanitizers to that of napalm, as both have very similar ingredients and burning patterns.”

Marian Beck Clore, RN, BSN, ICP, is the infectious disease/safety coordinator for the Michigan Department of Corrections, Duane L. Waters Hospital in Jackson, Mich.

Tallahassee Schools Ban Alcohol Hand Sanitizers

A crackdown is in effect on the use of hand sanitizers in Leon County schools. But local and state agencies say that decision was made by the district, not them.

And, nobody has alerted parents.

Another classic case of one hand not knowing what the other is doing.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

We're now part of Technocrati!

Technorati Profile

FDA and CDC warn against alcohol-based hand sanitizers

FDA Says NO to Alcohol Hand Sanitizers in Food Preparation

2003 Study

Hand Hygiene
in Retail & Food Service Establishments

".. CDC guidance document recommends alcohol-based hand gel as a " suitable alternative " to handwashing for health-care personnel in health-care settings. These guidelines were not intended to apply to food establishments.

" ... the antimicrobial efficacy of alcohol-containing handwashes for use in any setting remains under review by FDA. Some published studies also indicate that moisture on the hands may interfere with alcohol efficacy. In addition, alcohol has been shown to be ineffective against protozoan oocysts and, depending on the alcohol concentration, time, and viral variant, alcohol may not be effective against hepatitis A, or other non-lipophilic viruses.

Existing data do not demonstrate that alcohol-based hand gel effectively reduces important infectious foodborne pathogens at levels that occur on food workers' hands, especially if the hands are soiled with fatty and proteinaceous materials. Even in health-care settings, the CDC guidelines recommend soap and water handwashing on hands that are visibly soiled, or contaminated with proteinaceous material, rather than using the alcohol-based sanitizers.

Concern about the practice of using alcohol-based hand gels in place of hand washing with soap and water in a retail or food service setting can be summarized into the following points:

  • Alcohols have very poor activity against bacterial spores, protozoan oocysts, and certain nonenveloped (nonlipophilic) viruses; and

  • Ingredients used in alcohol-based hand gels for retail or food service must be approved food additives, and approved under the FDA monograph or as a New Drug Application (NDA); and

  • Retail food and food service work involves high potential for wet hands and hands contaminated with proteinaceous material. Scientific research questions the efficacy of alcohol on moist hands and hands contaminated with proteinaceous material.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) is an independent federal agency--this is their excerpt from a policy guideline referencing hand hygiene and cleanliness best practices..

Appendix—Detailed Recommendations

Detailed Recommendations for Cleaning & Disinfecting

Do not used fragrance-emitting devices (FEDS), plug-ins, or sprays; urinal or toilet blocks; or other deodorizer/re-odorizer products.

To reduce odors, increase cleaning and ventilation and/or use baking soda or zeolite to absorb odors.

Do not use products containing paradichlorobenzene or naphthalene (commons ingredients in FEDS).

Avoid or limit the use of products containing chlorine, ammonia, quaternary ammonium, phenol, isopropyl and other alcohols, formaldehyde, and other petroleum distillates.

Discourage the use of alcohol-based hand washes.

Do not use products that contain or have a fragrance.

Do not use citrus- or pine-based products.

Use vegetable-based surfactants rather than petroleum-based ones. Do not use or citrus- or pine-based solvents.

Cleaning and disinfecting programs should be part of an overall Indoor Air & Environmental Quality (IAQ/IEQ) program.

Establish an audit of all cleaning chemicals currently in use. Develop a priority list and plan to establish alternatives for chemicals and cleaning methods.

Raise awareness among building maintenance staff and occupants that "green" and "environmentally friendly" products are not necessarily good for occupant health.

Perform cleaning maintenance on an as needed basis—use spot or area cleaning rather than broad-based cleaning.

Avoid perfumed and/or chemically-treated cleaning products and supplies, such as cleaning rags, vacuum bags, trash bags, tissue, toilet paper, and hand soaps.

Increase scrubbing and other mechanical methods of cleaning to reduce the need for chemicals.

Hot water should be available for hand washing and cleaning.

Whenever possible, clean with hot water to reduce the amount of soap, detergent, and disinfectant that must be used.

Spray cleaning products on to cloths rather than on to surfaces or into the air.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

MRSA Kills VA Teen; 21 Schools locked down

BEDFORD, Va. - A high school student who was hospitalized for more than a week with an antibiotic-resistant staph infection has died. After a student protest, officials shut down 21 schools for cleaning to keep the illness from spreading.

Ashton Bonds, 17, a senior at Staunton River High School, died Monday after being diagnosed with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, his mother said.

"I want people to know how sick it made my son," Veronica Bonds said.

Again...protective measures within school systems need to be taken---and since we already know that alcohol-based hand sanitizers introduce other dangers---the logical solution would be alcohol-free products proven to be effective against MRSA and other easily transmitted germs.

Drug-Resistant Staph Germ's Toll Is Higher Than Thought

Today's Washington Post (as well as today's NY Times) merely re-iterates the need for increasing awareness re: best practices in hand hygiene.

"..This is a significant public health problem. We should be very worried," said Scott K. Fridkin, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC.

Other researchers noted that the estimate includes only the most serious infections caused by the germ, known as methicillin-resistant S taphylococcus au reus (MRSA).

"It's really just the tip of the iceberg," said Elizabeth A. Bancroft, a medical epidemiologist at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health who wrote an editorial in JAMA accompanying the new studies. "It is astounding."

MRSA is a strain of the ubiquitous bacterium that usually causes staph infections that are easily treated with common, or first-line, antibiotics in the penicillin family, such as methicillin and amoxicillin. Resistant strains of the organism, however, have been increasingly turning up in hospitals and in small outbreaks outside of heath-care settings, such as among athletes, prison inmates and children.

MRSA Outbreak in VA School Systems

Yet another major incident that underscores the importance of embracing hand hygiene sanitizer products.. Read below to follow link to the entire news report, above link brings you to a alcohol-free hand sanitizer product that's proven effective in killing MRSA.

October 16-All 21 school buildings in Bedford County, Va., were being scrubbed and sanitized Wednesday after the death Monday of a 17-year-old high school student from a powerful drug-resistant strain of staph bacteria.

The schools, all in Bedford County, Va., were closed after students there launched a protest over unsanitary conditions Monday, using text messages and social networking sites.

The students took Bedford County Schools Superintendent James Blevins on a tour Tuesday of Staunton River High School to show him how unclean it was, in particular the sports locker rooms. One of its students, Ashton Bonds, died Monday after being hospitalized for more than a week from Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, a strain of staph bacteria that does not respond to penicillin and related antibiotics. Blevins subsequently ordered the schools closed for cleaning.

Click here to read letter sent home to parents in Bedford County. (PDF)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Bond's death is not an isolated incident and that MRSA infections, are a major public health problem, more widespread than previously thought.

This was underscored in a stunning new report by CDC researchers, and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, that says MRSA infections could ultimately kill more people annually than AIDS. The report says the deadly strain killed nearly 19,000 Americans in 2005, and suggests that such infections may be twice as common as previously thought, according to its lead author, Dr. R. Monina Klevens.

In recent years, so-called superbug staph infections have been spreading wildly through schools, hospitals, prisons and athletic facilities, according to CDC officials. In fact, more than 90,000 Americans get potentially deadly infections each year from MRSA. The bacteria is often carried on the skin and in the noses of healthy people and can be spread by skin-to-skin contact or sharing an item used by an infected person, particularly one with an open wound.

Full article:,2933,302605,00.html

Monday, October 15, 2007

E.Coli -US Government Grapples To Put Hands on the Problem

Escherichia coli--also known as E.coli is easily transmitted in a variety of ways...and the right hand sanitizer product can help mitigate the risk...

From Oct 11 Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON -- U.S. officials are preparing to acknowledge publicly that it isn't just one type of E. coli bacteria that is making consumers sick, and government agencies are meeting next week in Virginia to discuss what they should do about it.

For years, only one strain -- E. coli 0157:H7 -- has been the focus of government oversight and has prompted massive nationwide food recalls. But evidence has been piling up in the past several years to show there are other forms of dangerous E. coli bacteria that may be just as deadly to humans.

Food contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, can be the "cause of outbreaks of bloody diarrhea, often leading to severe and fatal illness."

While the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list just 501 cases of illness caused by these other dangerous E. coli bacteria in 2005, the number is probably much greater than that, USDA Undersecretary for Food Safety Richard Raymond said.

"It is definitely increasing, and it is definitely in the U.S.," Mr. Raymond said. "It's making people sick and making people die, the same as E. coli 0157:H7."

In fact, about 20% of the people who get sick from E. coli in the U.S., he said, are probably suffering because they ate food contaminated with strains of the bacteria that most inspectors weren't looking for.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

"Organic" Hand Sanitizers--Marketing Genius

Its always inspiring to notice how consumer product manufacturers word smith their packaging to appeal to latest trends--and the buyer inflection points. "Organic"--could be the hottest word of the decade--and its a phrase that hand sanitizer manufacturer's are grasping at.
Who doesn't love Burt's Bee's products??? I do..But Burt, in all due respect, putting your hands on the word organic because the primary ingredient in your hand sanitizer is corn alcohol is no different than saying Coca Cola is organic because it uses cocoa beans.
Alcohol-based products are flammable and corn alcohol is typically the common ingredient in moonshine. Do we want to put it on our hands because its organic?? There are a few other 'organic' products that I wouldn't put on my hands also.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

We've known this for 10 years??? Yep.

Excerpted from a 1998 research study!!!

Although alcohol-based formulas that comply with federal composition standards generally are considered effective, alcohol-based antiseptic handwash preparations are flammable and do not demonstrate persistent antimicrobial activity. Also, repeated use often can cause drying and irritation of the skin.(8) Alcohol strips the skin of essential oils and sebum, which act as a natural protective barrier against bacterial infection and precipitate protein.(9) When applied to wounds or raw surfaces, therefore, it not only increases the risk of injury, but also forms a coagulum under which bacteria may subsequently thrive.(10) It is, therefore, not useful for the disinfection of open lesions or abraded, inflamed skin. Together, these and other adverse properties greatly limit the alcohol-based antimicrobial product's immediate effectiveness and increase the chances for the spread of infection.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that hand washing is the single most important factor in the prevention of disease and the spread of infections. Officials at the CDC estimate that one-third of all hospital-acquired infections are avoidable and are caused by a lack of adherence to established infection control practices such as hand washing.(16)

This insufficient hand washing has led to a great increase in the use of waterless hand sanitizers by health care personnel. This study evaluated the effectiveness of two ethanol-containing hand sanitizers and a novel, ethanol-free hand sanitizer using an FDA-approved protocol.

After a single application, the alcohol-free sanitizer and both alcohol-based formulas reduced bacteria more than a control nonantimicrobial handwash formula. When the protocol was repeated omitting the water rinse, similar results were achieved. This illustrated that the first time either of these types of products is used on any given day, degerming activity results that exceeds the federal requirements for antiseptic hand washes.

To be of any value in a health care setting, however, a hand antiseptic should give persistent antimicrobial activity with repeated use. Accordingly, the alcohol-free sanitizer, with or without the water rinse, produced increased antimicrobial effectiveness over time with no adverse effects. In contrast to this, repeated use of the alcohol-based sanitizers produced a decrease in antimicrobial effectiveness over time and was accompanied by swelling, erythema, and discomfort of the palmar surface of subjects' hands. Importantly, by the completion of both the rinsing and nonrinsing protocols, antimicrobial persistence of the alcohol-free formula was so pronounced that its performance exceeded federal requirements for antiseptic hand washes by at least 50%. The tested alcohol-based hand sanitizers, however, failed to meet this federal standard in both the rinse and nonrinse protocols.

In summary, the study showed

* the alcohol free hand sanitizer formula had a greater sustained degerming activity than the alcohol-containing hand sanitizer formula,

* the alcohol-containing hand sanitizer became less effective with repeated use and irritated the hands of subjects, and

* the alcohol-free hand sanitizer formula became more effective without irritation after repeated use.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Obvious Facts Re: Hand Sanitizers

There's apparently a lot of confusion being created about hand sanitizers---what their purpose is, and what the best products are---and the perception being created by too many manufacturers.

1. Anybody that thinks hand sanitizers are a replacement for washing with soap (non-antimicrobial) and water is a complete idiot. IF this isn't available, then yes, using a hand sanitizer when commuting, traveling, being exposed to large groups of people is a good idea.

2. The CDC does not recommend anything other than the above.

3. Anyone that actually thinks alcohol is the only thing that can kill a long list of commonly-transmitted germs and bacteria is as stupid as those in in #1.

4. The same applies to anyone that actually believes the only hand sanitizers that "work" are ones that smell like cheap perfume and leave your hands dry and irritated. If you actually believe this, then you must have voted for George Bush. Either that, or you're taking sips from your little bottle of Purell when nobody is watching.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tufts is Tough on Vick's Triclosan ingredient

Interesting mention courtesy of Tufts Univiersity about triclosan, the primary ingredient to P&G's Vick's Hand Sanitizer;


Americans are obsessed with cleanliness, and if the products that help us clean, kill bacteria too- then that is even better. But is our spending worthwhile? Laboratory research shows that although these products are able to kill germs, there is very little evidence to show that their use actually translates into less disease in our environment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the best method for getting rid of germs and preventing contamination is to wash your hands frequently with regular soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds.

If you do choose to use an antibacterial product there are a few things that you should know. A study published recently by Tufts University Medical School in Boston indicates that antibacterial soaps and antibacterial-coated products may contribute to the increase of antibiotic resistance in our society. It is possible that these products could encourage bacteria to mutate in ways that make them resistant to antibacterial products, including antibiotics.

The specific "biocide" in question is triclosan, found in many antibacterial products. Although it was assumed to attack bacteria by dissolving the membrane walls, researchers have found that it may target a particular enzyme involved in creating the cell walls of the E. coli bacterium, much as an antibiotic would. This would enable the bacterium to actually mutate and build up a resistance to triclosan, rendering the "biocide" virtually useless.

Comparing Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizers

One anonymous posting on this blog suggested that we're showing a decided favoritism to one particular brand.. Well--the beauty of blogging is that its a forum that allows you to share your opinion.. so if we come up with a hands down favorite every so often, we're certainly going to share that opinion.

OK..we've compared the following products, based on ingredients, packaging, variety of sizes, wholesale and retail price and availability.

Soapopoular displayed is a 100ml size. The other brands displayed are either 50ml or 65 ml. The Soapopular 100ml product sells for approximately the same price as the 50ml Hands2Go and the 50ml HandCleans. That means Soapopular is delivering 2x the value for the same price as the others. The CleanWell 3 oz ml sells for twice the price of the Soapopular 3.4oz .

4 of the 5 displayed, including Soapopoular, use benzalkonium chloride as the active ingredient, "one of safest organic compounds" and the same ingredient found in dozens of consumer healthcare products, including spermicide--a product we'd otherwise expect to be vigorously researched and tested before introducing it into a hygiene product.

A variety of independent lab tests have shown this ingredient is effective at killing upwards of 3 dozen germs, viruses and fungi, and in some cases, this alcohol-free approach kills viruses that alcohol-based products do not.

The Cleanwell product uses a homegrown 'organic' recipe that uses thyme extract as the primary ingredient. The company's marketing material indicates that its effective in killing 5 different pathogens.

Its available at WholeFoods and retails in at least two stores canvassed, for $7.99 for a 3oz l bottle.
The 3.4 oz Soapopular retails for $3.49.

In point of fact, it was hard to find any major retailer offering any of these brands just yet--simply because retail buyers are only now just beginning to get it.

Hands To Go has been in the market for about 4 years. Two retailers have test marketed the product. CleanWell is a newer entrant, and has received several profiles in connection with news media reports focusing on the danger of alcohol-based sanitizers.

Less than 4 months ago, Soapopular brand was introduced to the US from Canada where its been available for two years, and is now the category leader in that country-available at Wal-Mart Canada, London Drug and Zeller's. We're hearing that at least 3 big box chains will be launching Soapopoular on to their shelves within the next 3 months, along with 3 of the biggest supermarket chains--in total this company will have a reach into 4000+ stores before the cold/flu season takes hold.

The company also has an online store that its using to promote its US launch--and promotional pricing is available at Considering that its "full retail price" is considerably less than Hands To Go or Cleanwell, the promotional prices make this even more compelling. Hands To Go sells through its website also..

Saturday, September 22, 2007

How Kids Are Using Purell

After clicking on the link to this video from myspace, we're running a betting pool for those that want to wager on which mass retailer is going to be the first to decide that alcohol-based hand sanitizers need to be put on a shelf that can't be reached by teenagers..

(The people from Soapopular are saying "Thank goodness that some retailers 'get it' and are introducing alcohol-free hand sanitizers!")

we rec'd an email from a mom in Arkansas that said that a 16 year old, driving his Dad's car last week, was apparently driving under the influence and ran down two of his classmates in the high school parking lot, and that three empty bottles of GermX were found on the front car seat.

Does anyone know if this is true?? Not that it would surprise anyone....

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What is P&G thinking??? Don't they have a PR firm??

The same day that P&G was smacked down by the FDA for making false claims about its Vick's (triclosan-based) hand sanitizer, they allow some idiot to issue a press release with the following opening:

Sept 19, 2007 (Chicago) -- A new hand foam fights bacteria better and longer than commercially available alcohol gels, researchers report.

The new foam wiped out more than twice as much bacteria as a traditional hand gel, says Duane Charbonneau, PhD, a research fellow at Procter & Gamble, which is developing the product and funded the work.

The new product, which is low in alcohol, has triclosan, an antimicrobial used in toothpaste and hand creams, as its active ingredient.

When you read further, you'll notice that the study included 16 people. Wow! 16 people!! Talk about a study!!!
The story was published on Web MD and reviewed by Web MD's Louis Chang, MD.

My comments:
OK--so they're using triclosan in that the same toothpaste imported from
China that was determined to be toxic??

Hey, P&G-- We know a good crisis management advisor that would be happy to take on a 4 week gig..Her first piece of advice would be : stop issuing press releases promoting your hand sanitizer product with triclosan...(A lot of moms and other people actually read those news stories!)
Me? I'm sticking to Soapopular

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

FDA Says P&G's Vick's Hand Sanitizer Makes False Claims

link above focuses on the FDA spanking P&G for mis-advertising the efficacy of their Vick's brand alcohol-free hand sanitizer--whose prime ingredient is Triclosan. ..Worth mentioning that Walgreen's is marketing this product at their cash registers.
Let's recap: In the course of evaluating various alcohol-free's, we necessarily conducted exhaustive research re: competing alcohol-free products and their respective ingredients, and the efficacy statements imbedded within various marketing materials.
We also spoke to a variety of hand hygiene experts and asked their opinion i.e. Triclosan--since this is an active ingredient in several alcohol-free products. Two of those experts, one from a leading university medical school immediately said "Don't you know that the EPA classifies Triclosan as a PCB?" Why Walgreen's hadn't bothered to find that out, is beyond me.
Here's a great link i.e. dangers of Triclosan
With that said, Benzalkonium Chloride, the active ingredient in Soapopular brand, is considered the safest of all organic compounds (organic in the scientific sense, not eco-friendly sense).

One upstart company with an "organic" hand sanitizer (whose primary ingredient is thyme extract--and per their website, is purportedly effective against a total of 6 pathogens)--- likes to suggest that BAC and Triclosan are equally 'dangerous'. That marketer's claim is no less misleading than what the FDA is accusing P&G of making in promoting Vick's hand sanitizer. Triclosan is really scary stuff.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Latest Hand Hygiene Study

Excerpt from today's edition of FOX News/Boston
AP Medical Writer

CHICAGO -- The gender gap has widened when it comes to hygiene, according to the latest stakeout by the "hand washing police."

One-third of men didn't bother to wash after using the bathroom, compared with 12 percent of women, said the researchers who spy on people in public restrooms. They reported their latest findings Monday at a meeting of infectious disease scientists.

"....Carry hand sanitizers (we think she meant to insert "alcohol-free") and wipes in case the means to wash your hands aren't handy, suggested microbiologist Judy Daly of Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City, who led the project..."

"These are a marvelous addition to plain soap and water," she said.

Nearly three-fourths of Americans said they always wash up after changing a diaper, 78 percent said they do so after handling or eating food; 42 percent after petting a dog or cat, 25 percent after handling money, and 34 percent after coughing or sneezing.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Fair and Balanced Blog Comments

After noticing one of the first comments to recent posting, lets make sure everyone understands the rules of this blog.

1. We encourage comments, and for the immediate time being, we'll let comments be posted without interference. We can change that if people violate the rules

2. Even if they're biased, we'll post them. including any comments that the alcohol-based manufacturers might want to contribute; that keeps the dialogue spirited and informative

3. We won't post comments that are submitted 'anonymously' that make claims that a specific product is the "leader". A posting making a reference to something called hand 2 go suggested exactly that. We've heard of the product, its not a bad one, been around for a few years actually, and it actually made it to a few retailer shelves. But its ridiculously expensive--upwards of 50% more when comparing like-sized bottles to Canada's alcohol-free, fragrance free Soapopular.

Unless you are the manufacturer, and have Neilsen audits that can document claims about being the industry leader, we can only guess you are a shill.

Friday, September 14, 2007

What's Popular?

Fair and Balanced reporting--three talk show hosts compare alcohol-based Purell to Dial Soap and Soapopular brand, Canada's leading alcohol-free (and fragrance free!) hand sanitizer.

Another Great Use for Hand Sanitizers (NOT)

Who would have thunk
That Kids Want to Get Drunk
And that Purell would be so accommodating...

Not Popular!

The number of stories circulating the web re: hand sanitizers and alcohol-poisoning makes it difficult to know whats real and whats not...This is real..