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

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.