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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Purdue University: Alcohol Sanitizers DO NOT prevent infections that make people sick.

Nothing new--but we tripped over below article from EMagazine only after it was re-published in a community newspaper.... Once again--emphasizing that for those that embrace hand sanitizers, the alcohol-based products introduce more negatives than positives--exactly why alcohol-free formulations are being embraced.....(By the way--congrats to the folks at Soapopular and to Wal-Mart--Soapopular's alc free, rinse free, fragrance free and dye free product is now available at 300+ Wal-Mart locations)

A 2005 study by the Children’s Hospital in Boston compared illness rates across a study group of 292 families—half of them got hand sanitizers while the other half were given literature advising them of the benefits of frequent hand washing. The findings revealed that those families who used hand sanitizers experienced a 59 percent reduction in gastrointestinal illnesses and that the increased use of sanitizers correlated to a decreased spread of contagions in general.

Another study conducted at Colorado State University yielded similar conclusions, that hand sanitizers were as much as twice as effective as either regular soap or antibacterial soap at reducing germs on human hands. A Purdue University study, however, concluded that while alcohol-based hand sanitizers may kill more germs than plain or triclosan-based soaps, they do not prevent more infections that make people sick. Instead they may kill the human body’s own beneficial bacteria by stripping the skin of its outer layer of oil.

The down side of the gel/alcohol products is their danger as poison, especially for young children who may ingest the gel by licking it off their hands or eating it directly out of dispensers. Purell and Germ-X, two of the leading brands, each contain 62 percent ethyl alcohol. While this alcohol is what gives the products their germ-busting power, it also puts kids at risk of alcohol poisoning. A few squirts of the hand sanitizer—which is equivalent to124 proof booze—is enough to make a kid’s blood alcohol level .10, which is the equivalent of being legally drunk in most states.

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