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

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..