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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hepatitis A Alert: Alcohol Hand Sanitizer NOT effective

In connection with recent reports from New York City of hepatitis outbreaks, local talking heads have looked to 'medical experts' who are recommending alcohol based hand sanitizers--proving that many 'experts' are merely voicing misconceptions that are now more than 10 years old.

Again--many alcohol-FREE products (primarily those using benzalkonium chloride as the active agent)--have been tested to be effective against Hepatitis

More importantly, below taken directly from Purell's website:

Does PURELL kill viruses?

"..we cannot make any claims as to PURELL's effectiveness against viruses, such as colds, flu, SARS, HIV or Hepatitis..."

Does PURELL kill SARS?

There is no evidence that PURELL or any alcohol-based hand sanitizer kills the SARS virus.

Is PURELL flammable?

PURELL is flammable, but a flame, spark or other ignition source would be needed.

Independent research: 1999 FDA White Paper
. Alcohols

Alcohol was immediately effective product against bacteria but had limited residual activity (Docket C-3; Paulson, 1994; Coates et al., 1987; Larson, 1995; Butz et al., 1990; Ayliffe et al., 1988; Aly and Maibach, 1979; Larson et al., 1986; Paulson,1994; Ly et al.,1997).

Alcohols were not as effective against viruses such as hepatitis A (Mbithi et al., 1993). Alcohol applied to hands for as short as 15 seconds has been found to be effective in preventing transmission of Gram-negative bacteria (Larson, 1995).

Bacterial counts were found to increase after very frequent washing and with the use of alcohol sanitizers (Miller, 1994). Alcohol gel sanitizers that do not require rinsing may be ineffective on their own due to the fact that there is no mechanical action to wash away bacteria (Paulson, 1994; Miller, 1994;Docket C-8).

Thus the end result may be increased resident bacteria, including pathogenic S. aureus, on the hands. As they dry, alcohol products may pull resident bacteria from deeper skin layers, thus an increase in resident bacterial counts may be noticed (Docket C-8). Antiseptic handrubs, such as alcohol gel sanitizers, can be used only to inhibit microorganisms, without any mechanical effect on soil removal (Larson, 1995).

Alcohols are not cleaning agents; therefore, they are not recommended for use in the presence of physical dirt (Larson, 1995; Docket C-8). Due to the shortcomings of alcohol sanitizers in the presence of soil, the build-up of emollients after repeated use, and the lack of effectiveness against certain viruses, it is recommended that hands be washed before alcohol application (Docket C-3; Restaino and Wind, 1990;Docket C-8)

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