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, December 19, 2009

US Dept of Health Inspector General Report: CDC 's "Expert Advisory Panels" are "Wrought with Financial Conflicts of Interest"

According to a report published Friday, Dec 18 by the Inspector General of the US Department of Health and Human Services, 64 percent of the advisers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) were found to have "serious financial conflicts of interest" as CDC either failed to recognize, or those consultants failed to disclose that they maintain financial relationships with manufacturers of vaccines and medicines (including alcohol hand sanitizer products)  that these same "consultants" have influenced the CDC to recommend to the general public.

Let's have some fun--and count the number of direct or indirect "expert consultants" to the CDC or "CDC advisory panel members" that have ties to GOJO Industries...the country's largest manufacturer of alcohol-based hand sanitizer (Purell); the product that CDC has repeatedly recommended for use in the battle against swine flu.
All despite the fact that alcohol is notorious for destroying protective skin cells, and otherwise increasing the risk of exposure to pathogens after repeated application.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wall St. Journal Profiles Soapopular Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizer

In a Dec 16 WSJ article profiling claims made by manufacturers of hand sanitizer and other "H1N1-related products", a popular maker of alcohol-free hand sanitizer products received attribution for providing clarity and transparency on the topic of effectiveness claims.

Taking a stand that most marketers would rather not, Soapopular spokesperson made it clear that FDA prohibits advertising specific effectiveness claims, even if the company has secured independent lab studies demonstrating effectiveness against a broad spectrum of pathogens,

The spokesperson further stated "Proper hand hygiene is all about common sense steps--and however much lab tests can deliver very compelling results, the real-world fact is that nobody can guarantee that individuals won't be exposed to virus-causing germs..We just believe that non-alcohol products make more sense when compared to alcohol."

Kudos to Soapopular for their integrity, transparency and logic!

S. Carolina School Teacher Charged With Abuse: Rubbed Alcohol-Hand Sanitizer in Student Faces and Mouths

A former Bishopville teacher is under investigation for reportedly abusing children by rubbing alcohol hand sanitizer in their faces and mouths..

We couldn't make this stuff up; click on title link to this posting for the ABC News update.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

NYS Dept Of Health [Cautions] Use of Alcohol Hand Sanitizers: Wash Hands BEFORE Applying

In a recent publication re: "hand hygiene antiseptic agents in hospital settings", the New York State Department of Health provides the completely ironic recommendation for users of alcohol-based hand sanitizers and states: "wash hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds before applying alcohol hand sanitizer."

A fifth grade student asks: "Why would I apply alcohol to my hands if I've just washed them with soap and water???" 

NYS Dept of Health answers: "Because alcohol is not a cleaning agent, and it does not penetrate dirty/soiled skin.." 

In the same document, the NYS Dept of Health cautions that "alcohol-based hand sanitizers are NON-PERSISTENT and have "NO RESIDUAL ACTIVITY"

This means that alcohol sanitizers have NO EFFECTIVENESS within seconds after  product application, as alcohol dries within seconds.

NYS Dept of Health infers in the same document that alcohol sanitizers are completely ineffective against non-enveloped viruses and lose their effectiveness with repeated use. The latter "feature" means that the more frequently alcohol is applied to the skin, they have absolutely no efficacy against germs/bacteria.

The fifth grade student that posed the above questions remains utterly confused as to why a state agency responsible for providing guidance on health-related issues would recommend using alcohol on the hands, when there are non-alcohol, rinse-free products that do not require washing before applying, have extended persistency (which means they continue to be effective long after applying), and these non-alcohol products deliver IMPROVED effectiveness over repeated applications.

NYS Dept of Health says: "The document in question is intended for health care workers within a hospital setting.." 

We know that GOJO Industries, the manufacturer of Purell alcohol hand sanitizer visits this blog daily--so we invite them to dispute the position taken by the NYS Dept of Health. And we invite them to explain why their product makes any sense if repeated use reduces the product effectiveness.

In the interim, we'll continue to join hands with among others, experts at the U.S. Navy, who have determined that applying alcohol to the hands is completely counter-intuitive, and that alternative, non-alcohol hand antiseptic products are safer to the skin, and much more pragmatic from a variety of perspectives.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

CDC: About 1 in 6 Americans have had swine flu

Courtesy of the LA Times, DEC 10 2009 3:05 PM EST

At least 50 million Americans had contracted pandemic H1N1 influenza through Nov. 14, according to the newest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released today -- meaning that about 15% of the entire country has been infected, about one in every six people.

Eye-opening, hair-raising and disconcerting. BUT--Swine Flu, however scary, is, according to many, nothing more than a very aggressive strain of influenza The experts would suggest that solid preventive measures include focused hand hygiene--washing with appropriate soap and water--and when that's not convenient--using an appropriate hand sanitizer.

Monday, November 23, 2009

De-bunking the Norovirus claims made by makers of alcohol hand sanitizer makers

More than a few makers of alcohol-based hand sanitizers are claiming that their products are effective against Norovirus (a/k/a Norwalk Virus).

Per a recent academic study conducted by a team experts from the Center for Global Safe Water, Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, and Department of Food Science, North Carolina State University:

"..Despite the promise of alcohol-based sanitizers for the control of pathogen transmission, they are relatively ineffective against the HuNoV, reinforcing the need to develop and evaluate new products against this important group of viruses.."

Friday, November 20, 2009

H.E.B. Stores Introduces Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizer to Texans

One of the reason that H-E-B Stores is so popular is because of their reputation for innovation and community service. Now they're even more popular thanks to introducing the alcohol-free hand sanitizer brand "Soapopular"

H-E-B, with sales of more than $15 billion, operates more than 300 stores in Texas and Mexico. Based in San Antonio, H-E-B employs more than 70,000 Partners and serves millions of customers in more than 150 communities.

Read the press release by clicking here

Putting Booze into Kids Hands: Alcohol Hand Sanitizer


Story below is courtesy of the AlaskaDispatch reporter Jill Burke

Purell markets itself as ‘Mother Nature's disinfectant'. But while they kill germs, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are apparently no match for some aspects of human nature. Curiosity and compulsion have led some people, including children, to sniff or drink the cleansing goo for a cheap high.

"The best way to drink hand sanitizer is straight, like whiskey, and down it ‘like a shot,'" a 15-year-old student in Toronto recently told Maclean's magazine. "Undiluted, the alcohol-based liquid tastes a little like ‘vodka and bug spray,'" Maclean's reported.

At 62 percent ethyl alcohol, Purell is more than 120 proof -- the equivalent of a strong rum or whiskey. To effectively kill germs, alcohol content must be at least 60 percent; stronger hand sanitizers may contain as much as 85 percent.

Yet for addicts desperate for an alcohol fix, hand sanitizer is accessible, cheap, and gets the job done. And its abuse is something that crosses state and national boundaries.

In the village of Selawik, located in northwest Alaska, several people are accused of stealing several large bottles of the gel last month from a convenience store's back room and getting drunk off of it. In Canada, shipments to fight flu were delayed to some First Nations communities where alcohol abuse is prevalent over fears people would drink it. Last month in Britain, prison inmates drank enough of the stuff to get drunk and start a brawl, leading to a ban on hand gel.

Wells says sniffing and drinking hand sanitizers is also a risk for children, teens and young adults who may find it easier to access than liquor, or who may be experimenting with intoxicants in general. When a teacher in Canada noticed her 8- and 9-year old students "acting strange and giggling" during a recent walk, her detective work got them to confess they had swallowed hand sanitizer at school just before the walk, according to Macleans.
Far more potent than beer, wine and many liquors, Wells sees a high potential for abuse in communities that ban alcohol, and suspects hand sanitizers may have "a tremendous potential for homebrew."

"The bottom line," she said, "is that anything that contains ethanol or isopropyl alcohol can have the potential for being abused and we just need to be aware."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Alcohol Hand Sanitizers: Would you give a bottle of Vodka to your kid?



Sunday, November 8, 2009

Alcohol Hand Sanitizer Poisoning Doubles on Staten Island, NY

Courtesy of StatenIslandLive.com

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- It's become a common tool in a parent's arsenal against swine flu and the common cold -- a bottle of alcohol hand sanitizer.

   But as an increasing number of parents citywide have learned, it's got an alcohol content higher than most hard liquors.

   Hand sanitizers typically contain 62 percent ethyl alcohol -- the same type of alcohol in beverages, but processed and concentrated differently.

   The city's poison-control centers have seen 25 hand sanitizer ingestion cases over the past month -- more than double the 10 to 12 per month they typically see, according to officials with the city Health Department.

   "Exposure is among children, and generally from hand to mouth," Health Department officials said in an e-mailed statement.

     

Friday, November 6, 2009

North Carolina Facing Increased Problems With Alcohol Hand Sanitizers



More people are taking extra precautions to avoid getting the H1N1 flu virus.
But one germ-killing product is raising its own health concerns.
A North Carolina mother claims her 2-year-old son had a strange reaction to [alcohol] hand sanitizer.
Angie Dameron says she applied [alcohol] foam sanitizer to her toddler’s hands just before he ate his meal.
She says a half-hour later, her son could barely walk, and was acting funny.
After speaking with a nurse, Dameron says they came to the conclusion that the sanitizer was to blame.
A health official at Morehead Memorial Hospital says you shouldn’t over look the dangers of alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
“Sometimes we take for granted that this is a powerful and toxic substance to small children especially,” said Annie Mills, RN. “The alcohol hand sanitizer products are made up of 62% ethyl alcohol roughly and that is equivalent of 120 proof alcohol.“


A spokesperson for the Carolinas Poision Center says an estimated 300 calls have come in this year from parents concerned about kids getting into alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

University of Minnesota Expert: Alcohol Free Hand Sanitizers Effective Way to Kill Flu Virus

"..All hand sanitizers depend on you using them correctly, but they would easily be able to kill the influenza virus. Alcohol-free hand sanitizers that use Benzalkonium Chloride is an effective way to kill the flu virus..."
Dr. Pat Schlievert, Department of Microbiology, University of Minnesota Medical School

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

ABC News Arizona: Testing Hand Sanitizers:


Do hand sanitizers really work? We put them to the test


Last Update: 10/27 7:09 pm

Reported by: Linda Hurtado, abcactionnews.com


Everyone is always looking for ways to keep their families healthy.  The CDC says washing your hands is the best way to protect yourself against getting sick. 

But is it? What about those hand sanitizers many people carry around. Do they work better? Or at all?

Many Valley kids are doing it; playing games like basketball and cheering each other on from the sidelines. You better believe that plenty of their hands touched the ball too.

This is often how viruses and other bacteria are spread. So we put hand sanitizers to the test and found out if they’re the same and if soap and water better protect you from getting sick.

In the test, 16 nine and ten-year-olds tried eight products, half name brand hand sanitizers and half generics. Four others tried soap and/or just water. 

Here's one student's theory: "If you wash your hands with water you get a couple off your hands, but if you use soap and water you'll probably get most of the germs off your hands."

The test worked like this: Each child touched their finger tips to a petri dish before treatment. Then a squirt of hand sanitizer and they touched the petri dish again. Most hand sanitizers contain some kind of alcohol compound, either ethyl or isopropyl.

Then the petri dishes were sent to Burt Anderson, a Professor of Molecular Medicine at the University of South Florida. "We put them into an incubator to allow the bacteria to grow."

The results were pretty clear. In the petri dish from one student's test, Burt Anderson says there were 90 to 100 colonies of bacteria before she used an alcohol-free foaming hand sanitizer.


“In this case it was a hand sanitizer using the compound called benzalkonium chloride. You can see a drastic and dramatic reduction to no colonies at all,” Anderson says.

Ohio School Superintendent: USE NON-ALCOHOL HAND SANITIZER RE: SWINE FLU

Flu season is upon us
Pat Kimble
Superintendent Adams County/Ohio Valley School District

If you haven't already experienced it or heard about it, the flu season is upon us. Specifically, I am referring to the fact that the H1N1 virus is now present in Adams County. It has been reported to me that we have some "lab confirmed cases" of H1N1 in our school district. I passed this information along to parents on Oct. 9.

Since it really isn't time for our "normal" flu season to get cranked up, all cases of flu at this time are being considered as H1N1 (swine flu) whether or not they have been confirmed as such through lab testing. Lab testing per case/individual costs about $500.

Obviously, due to the costs involved, everyone showing symptoms of flu will not be tested for H1N1. Regardless of the number of reported lab tested cases for H1N1 in Adams County, the actual number of people infected with this virus is probably a lot higher than we think or know.

So, let's review things that we can all do to help control the spread of this virus:

1. Sneeze and/or cough into a handkerchief or tissue, and not into the open air. If you don't have a tissue, then sneeze/cough into your shirt sleeve by placing your elbow up to your face. This cuts down on germs being spread through the air and landing on other objects that could come into contact with your skin and/or body openings.

2. Use the "hands off the face" approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of the face.

3. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with an antibacterial soap.

4. Use hand sanitizer frequently, preferably one that has a non-alcohol base.

5. Keep some sanitary wipes handy to wipe down desktops, tabletops, railings, doorknobs, phones, computer keyboards, etc.

6. Clean restroom areas frequently and thoroughly.

7. Don't share water bottles, cups, glasses, etc.

8. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water. Simple gargling prevents proliferation.

9. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C, such as citrus fruits.

10. Drink as much of warm liquids as you can. Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

FOX NEWS: Swine Flu :Problems With Alcohol Hand Sanitizer

Courtesy of FOX News.



For a conservative media platform such as Fox News; a media company that rarely challenges a product from a "Major Brand  Company," simply because they don't want to offend an advertiser or sponsor, its refreshing to see this newssegment. It provides  a thought provoking report on the dangerous issues regarding the promotion of alcohol-based hand sanitizers.




Saturday, October 17, 2009

Minnesota: Alcohol Hand Sanitizer Poisoning on The rise

Poison Control Inundated with Hand Sanitizer Calls

Poison Control Centers have been inundated with calls about hand sanitizers. Health officials say ingesting it can be potentially harmful to children. They say hand sanitizers contain more alcohol than a bottle of vodka.
Hennepin County Poison Control Center told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS it has been flooded with emergency calls about hand sanitizer. In one case, a 77-year-old with dementia mistakenly drank nearly an entire bottle. However, health officials say children are at the greatest risk.
 

"Daycare, they got into the bottle or we squirted something on their hands after lunch to to wash their hands and one kid thought it smelled good and licked it," said Kirk Hughes from Minnesota Poison Control, giving an example of some of the calls they have been receiving.
 

He said in some cases children are mistaking the colorful bottles for juice. He said small amounts are harmless, but a few mouthfuls could leave them legally drunk.
"An intoxicated child is a medical emergency. They can actually go into a low blood sugar coma or diabetic coma," said Hughes.
 

Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control updated it's recommendation to include new alcohol-free sanitizers.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Alabama Speaks Out: Warning Re: Alcohol Hand Sanitizers





Supervise kids' use of hand sanitizer

Wednesday, October 14, 2009
By Lee Roop
Times Staff Writer lee.roop@htimes.com

Don't let them ingest potentially fatal product
Add one more thing to the list for child-proofing a home or place of business today: (alcohol) hand sanitizer.
It's true. The gel cleaners found in jars and wall dispensers everywhere this flu season are dangerous to young children.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

CDC To Schools: "Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizers Are Useful"


For the better part of 2 1/2 years, this blog has pontificated, pounded tables, and even patronized federal agencies on the features/benefits of non-alcohol hand sanitizers vs. the inherent dangers of legacy, alcohol-based hand sanitizer products.

Whether or not CDC was influenced by certain letters directed to various senior execs at CDC, HHS and DOE, we're happy to report that the CDC has actually updated its position with regard to non-alcohol hand sanitizers.


However much their new verbiage is a CYA for the CDC, the fact is they are acknowledging that alcohol hand sanitizers are being eschewed by school systems throughout the country, and their recent memo at Flu.Gov includes the following statement:

"..for schools that prohibit alcohol-based hand sanitizers, non-alcohol hand sanitizer products are useful..."


It's a small step, but one that has apparently inspired tens of dozens of schools throughout the country that have been waffling on the topic and otherwise deferring to bureaucrats that have held up their hands and said  "But..but...we can't do something different, because we read that the CDC recommends alcohol.. " 

Well..that's simply a mis-interpretation of what the CDC actually says, and their latest update for K-12 schools at flu.gov provides clarity on their posture with regard to hand sanitizer products that are alcohol-free.


We say: The most pragmatic approach to good hand hygiene is to wash your hands with soap and water. If you can't wash with soap and water, and you are planning on using a hand sanitizer-check the label and check the ingredients.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Connecticut Man jailed for drinking sanitizer






BANTAM — A New Milford man was jailed Friday for reportedly ingesting hand sanitizer last week at a residential facility, in an attempt to get drunk.

Bantam Superior Court Judge Corinne Klatt increased bonds in three cases pending against Paul Hosey, 22, by $500 each. Hosey was scheduled to return to court Oct. 23.

“He admitted to drinking the hand sanitizer for the purposes of becoming intoxicated,” Assistant State’s Attorney Jonathan Knight said.

On Aug. 27, the court ordered Hosey to be held under house arrest at the Alternative Incarceration Center in Waterbury while his cases were pending in court.

AIC staff found a plastic cup with a cloudy liquid on the floor by Hosey’s bed on Oct. 2. Initially Hosey denied drinking the hand sanitizer, telling staff he used it to clean himself. But Hosey’s eyes were bloodshot and he appeared disheveled, according to a report.

Hosey’s blood alcohol level was .92. He admitted to drinking the liquid, but added that there were worse personal hygiene products he could have used, including rubbing alcohol and Listerine mouth wash.

Hosey was taken to the hospital for treatment.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Nashville News: Drunken Fun on Alcohol Hand Sanitizer

Courtesy of Walter Jowers; Nashville News

Yet another sign that the country's going straight to hell: Americans are drinking hand sanitizer, for the purpose of getting high. Well, maybe not high. More like rumbling, stumbling, staggering, bumbling, hearing-voices-and-seeing-Jesus drunk.And while I'm thinking about it, I might as well try to educate our hand-sanitizer-drinking brethren. You full-time alcoholics, listen to me. There are easier ways to see Jesus. Just walk into any medical office building, find doors that are faced with bookmatched wood veneer, and you'll see a Jesus, sooner or later. Every bookmatched door, by its very nature, depicts the image of a Jesus beard and a pair of Jesus eyes. Same goes for a plate of Pizza Hut spaghetti. But I digress.

In previous columns, I have shared with readers my shock and dismay in finding partially consumed bottles of beer and liquor in muddy, possum-infested under-floor crawlspaces. After discovering dozens, if not hundreds, of hard drinkers' hideaways, I now believe that if a person crawls under a house to be with the alcohol and possums for the express purpose of getting blind crazy drunk, well, that person has hit rock bottom.

Some weeks back, Reuters published a story about two men who were caught drinking Purell, a common hand sanitizer that any alcohol-seeker can find mounted on the wall of just about any building, even a nasty beer joint where you need hand sanitizer just to touch the hand-sanitizer dispenser. In the article, the writer pointed out that the alcohol in hand sanitizer isn't the same alcohol that's in adult beverages.

You hear that, Purell drinkers? You're drinking the wrong hooch. You're gulping down a jelly-like substance that's 60-plus percent ethanol. That's the stuff that'll rot your liver and brain before your throat stops burning. It's the stuff that'll make you try to stand up in a crawl space. A two-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer is pretty much equal to four shots of vodka. You'd be better off just drinking the vodka.

I know, I know. The vodka is expensive, but the hand sanitizer hanging on the wall is free. By the time security arrives, a hard-swigging man could have sucked the dispenser dry.

I don't know for sure, but I think folks who scrounge for and enjoy a stiff shot of hand sanitizer are already loaded down with a hatful of ailments, dilemmas and difficulties, and they're likelier than most to have missed out on the life lessons that could've kept them from getting into woeful predicaments.

For instance: hand sanitizer seekers may not know that the stuff will burn. I know that it burns. Just last Sunday I found myself in a scientific mood, so I squeezed some Purell onto the rim of a glass and lit the gel. Don't you know, up popped a festive little blue flame that didn't want to go out, no matter how hard I shook the glass. If I'd had liquor in the glass, I would've made a Fool's Margarita—a drink made even more dangerous because an impaired person probably wouldn't see that blue flame. In this hellish scenario, the drinker wouldn't fall into a ring of fire, the ring of fire would fall on him.

Recently, scientific folk at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have started recommending that people wash their hands not with alcohol-laden hand sanitizer.... It seems that they leave more bacteria on one's hands than soap and water. Hands being wrinkly and all, it's devilishly hard to know how many germs are crawling on them at any given time.

So, you folks who've been drinking hand sanitizer, maybe you ought to switch up your routine. Get off the hand-sanitizer gel and drink soapy water instead. Soapy water won't set you on fire or kill your liver and brain overnight, but it might cause some gastrointestinal surprises, if you know what I mean. Soap slickens things up.

If you just can't give up hand sanitizer, I say go ahead and rub it onto your hands, like you're supposed to. And while you're at it, check other body parts and intimate areas that could use a little cleanup. It couldn't hurt—well, except for the painful burning and chafing.

If things get desperate, I say canvass your area for old hippies. I've heard rumors that some hippies who still have their band hair have stocked warehouses with 1968-vintage Romilar cough syrup, which, believe it or not, was loaded with chloroform. True, it won't hand-sanitize your insides in the bargain. But it'll get the rest of the job done.

Email editor@nashvillescene.com

CBC News Canada:Alcohol in hand sanitizers worries schools



October 8, 2009

Alcohol in hand sanitizers worries schools

By CBC News

Concerns are being raised about the safety of giving children hand sanitizer because the high alcohol level makes it potentially intoxicating and flammable.

Concerns are being raised about the safety of giving children hand sanitizer because the high alcohol level makes it potentially intoxicating and flammable.
Health Canada has advised schools to consider installing sanitizer dispensers in order to fight the spread of the H1N1 flu.

But many brands contain more than 60 per cent alcohol, and a quick search of the popular video sharing website YouTube turns up numerous videos of students drinking the hand gel or lighting it on fire.

Some hand sanitizers are made with ethyl alcohol, the same type found in alcoholic drinks, but others are made with isopropyl alcohol, which can be fatal, even in small doses.

No dispensers in Vancouver schools

Vancouver School District spokesman David Weir said the board decided against installing alcohol-based hand sanitizer dispensers following reports that they were being vandalized by students to obtain the product inside. That raised concerns about students ingesting the gel or using it to start fires.
"We felt that the risk associated with alcohol hand sanitizer in the schools outweighs the potential benefits and that's why we made the decision that we did," said Weir.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers only work on clean hands, and for students the preferred method for preventing the spread of viruses is proper hand washing with soap, said Weir.

"We do have it in writing from our local health officer that he recommends we do not install the dispensers," said Weir.

While the school district is not banning hand sanitizers, it will confiscate the product from any student caught misusing it, said Weir.

Hand sanitizers were also banned by the Cape-Breton-Victoria Regional School Board in Nova Scotia in September over concerns they might used to start fires.

4-year-old seriously intoxicated

Lacey Butler is one parent who learned of the risks firsthand when her four-year-old daughter Halle was given a squirt of hand sanitizer with an attractive fruit scent by a teacher at school.

CBC News tracked down Butler in Oklahoma, after her email warning to parents became an internet hit of its own.
Butler's daughter actually got sick two years ago, but the recent surge in use of hand sanitizers in schools turned her old message into an internet hit once again in recent weeks.

"The teacher says she went around to all students and squirted one squirt into each students hand," said Butler.

But rather than rub it on her hands, Halle licked and swallowed the gel, likely because it smelled of fruit.

"It was like someone her size drinking something like 120 proof [alcohol]," said Butler.

Halle became lethargic and incoherent, and at first nobody could figure out what was wrong with her, and she was rushed to hospital by her father.

After quizzing the girl's classmates, the teacher learned Halle had eaten the small squirt of hand sanitizer.

She spent a day in hospital hooked up to an IV drip, seriously ill with a dangerously high blood alcohol level.

"After doing research on the internet, we found out that it only takes about three squirts of the stuff ingested to be fatal to a toddler," Butler said.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

CDC Now Says NON-Alcohol Hand Sanitizers Appropriate for Schools


On June 13, 2009, this blog published a letter that was directed to the Secretary of the US Health and Services Administration and senior staff at the US Department of Education in response to a long out-dated position that otherwise found the US Government (via CDC, HHS and DOE) seemingly endorsing alcohol-based sanitizers for use by school children; the age group that is most  susceptible to easily transmitted viruses, including Swine Flu/H1N1.
That letter pointed out the obvious dangers of alcohol-based products, the questionable logic of applying said products to the skin, and that any expert will attest to the fact that alcohol causes the skin to become dry/irritated, which necessarily increases the risk of exposure to bacteria and viruses.
The letter included a copy of an email exchange with then Interim Director of the US Centers For Disease Control Richard Besser, which took place one month earlier, informed Dr. Besser that schools and major universities throughout the country (e.g. 400+ public schools, Harvard University, University of Michigan, University of Arkansas, to name just a few) have disregarded CDC's out-dated position promoting alcohol gels, and these schools have systematically banned alcohol hand sanitizers. It was pointed out to Dr. Besser that those schools have determined alcohol hand sanitizer products are more dangerous than they are 'effective'.  In reply, Dr. Besser (now the ABC News Health Reporter) acknowledged a "communication challenge within CDC" with regard to CDC's failure to update their policy position on the topic of hand sanitizers, a policy paper that was written in 1996 and intended exclusively for professional health care workers within hospital venues.
The June 13 letter further pointed to widely-accepted scientific data that supported the use of certain non-alcohol formulas as an alternative hand hygiene solution, and referenced certain manufacturers that had already submitted independent lab evaluations to both the CDC and FDA to memorialize the scientific findings demonstrating their respective product's efficacy.
Well, we're happy to report that CDC, under the new leadership of Dr. Thomas Frieden, has finally modified its position, and CDC is now actually recognizing non-alcohol hand sanitizers for the age group that is most susceptible to viruses.
Proving that "bloggers" might actually be a positive influence! Some would argue that were it not for citizens taking matters into their own hands (pun intended), and leveraging the power of freedom of speech via the Internet, schools throughout the country would remain reliant on ill-informed, over-worked and politically-motivated bureaucrats that just don't seem to get it--unless they get hit over the head with it.
Via “Flu.Gov” the CDC just published a report entitled:
Technical Report for State and Local Public Health Officials and School Administrators on CDC Guidance for School (K-12) Responses to Influenza during the 2009-2010 School Year
Here's the excerpt that where the CDC now recognizes that school systems are systematically banning alcohol-based sanitizers, and where the CDC actually acknowledges non-alcohol sanitizers:
Influenza may spread via contaminated hands or inanimate objects that become contaminated with influenza viruses. CDC recommends that students and staff be encouraged to wash their hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective at killing flu germs, but may not be allowed in all schools. If soap and water are not available, and if alcohol-based products are not allowed in the school, other hand sanitizers that do not contain alcohol may be useful...
When clicking on the link to the full memo issued by CDC, the reader will notice that CDC incorporates a caveat, with a statement "..CDC believes there is less evidence with respect to the effectiveness of non-alcohol products when compared to the evidence available re: alcohol..."
The fact of the matter is that CDC and FDA are in possession of exhaustive independent evidence corroborating the effectiveness of certain non-alcohol (e.g. benzalkonium choloride-based) products, although this evidence may be less than 10 years old vs. "older" evidence with respect to alcohol.
That said, a cynic would argue that the FDA regularly "approves" prescription drugs for cancer patients that have been tested on prison inmates, so why the reticence to be more assertive when it comes to something as innocuous as non-alcohol hand sanitizers?
Perhaps the larger makers of alcohol-based products have perfected the art of lobbying? After all, we know that GOJO Industries visits this blog on a daily basis, hoping to find scraps that could help them undermine competitors that are promoting non-alcohol hand sanitizers.
http://www.flu.gov/professional/school/k12techreport.html

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Purdue University expert: Alcohol hand sanitizers NOT effective

By Chuck Poulsen

The Clean Hands Police are shaking their little sanitized fists at us and demanding that we soak our hands in some gooey alcohol-based gel that smells like gardenias.
The Clean Hands Police are a subsection of the Healthy Eating Gestapo, which operates under the Ministry of Environmental Salvation and Self-righteousness (MESS).
The mission statement for MESS is right to the point: “Do what we say with your life, or else. Hallelujah.”
The clean hands hysteria – and once started, don’t think it will ever go away – is reminiscent of the people who built bomb shelters in the late ‘50s and ended up using them as wine cellars.
School District 23 has six web pages on swine flu, including information on how parents and children might deal with anxiety produced by fear of the flu. Halloween won’t be nearly as scary.
The Clean Hands Police have already learned from MESS how to humiliate the unfaithful.
This was shown by U.S. Secretary of Health, Kathleen Sebelius, who was freaked out by NBC reporter Chuck Todd because he covered a sneeze with his hand.
“What’s that about?” Sebelius shrieked twice, as if Todd had just accidentally detonated a nuclear weapon.
Then she showed Todd how to cover his sneeze with the crux of her elbow. Swinging her arm away after the sneeze, she looked like Count Dracula whipping out his cape.
Said Sebelius: “Who’s got some Purell? Give it to Mr Todd right away.”
Purcell has about 70 per cent alcohol so you could forgive Todd for not throwing back a shot after absorbing the hellfire scolding from Sebelius.
The amount of alcohol in hand cleaners is something the Clean Hands Police have not thought through.
Reports are coming in from emergency rooms about children with alcohol poisoning after drinking the sweet-smelling sanitizers. With parents handing Purell out to their kids by the millions, we can bet some will give it a taste no matter if they are told not too. I can see teenagers purposely drinking the stuff for an alcoholic buzz.

A Purdue University professor who teaches sanitation practices for food service workers says alcohol hand sanitizers might not even work very well.

“Research shows that they do not significantly reduce the overall amount of bacteria on the hands, and in some cases they may even increase it,” says Barbara Almanza, associate professor at Purdue.

Almanza says the typical alcohol hand sanitizer,  strips the skin of the outer layer of oil, which normally prevents resident bacteria from coming to the surface.

“Generally, this resident flora is not the type that will make us sick,” Almanza says, “but the assumption is that when you have an increase in overall bacteria, the chances are better that a disease-causing strain will be present.”
Yet the manufacturers of these alcohol products can continue to claim that their sanitizers are up to 99.9 percent effective in killing germs because they were tested on inanimate surfaces rather than human hands.

“The physiological complexity of human skin makes it very difficult to use for testing of this nature,” Almanza says. “The most clear and consistent results were going to come from using surfaces for which the variables can be controlled, and that’s just not real life. Real life is not neat and tidy.”

Alcohol Hand gel faulted for fouling up Swedish bus service


Published: 1 Oct 09 11:54 CET
Online: http://www.thelocal.se/22406/20091001/
Dictionary tool Double click on a word to get a translation
Bus service in Östersund in northern Sweden has been disrupted due to an increased in the number of drivers using alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

As it turns out, the vapors from hands recently disinfected by the get are triggering built-in ignition locks designed to combat drunken driving.

"I know that this has happened in a case when the driver was unable to start the bus because of it; the bus was left standing for ten minutes," Micke Bernervall, CEO of local operator Stadsbusserna told local newspaper Länstidningen Östersund.

The alcohol-based sanitizers have been broadly touted as the first line of defence against the spread of the swine flu and have become a regular feature of waiting rooms and offices across Sweden in recent months.

However a spate of fires to person and property in the past fortnight have illustrated the dangers of the disinfectant, and now city bus services have also suffered unlikely disruption as the flu takes its toll in unforeseen ways.

"We took a company decision to not provide the sanitizers to the drivers in our buses. It is not a good idea," Bernervall said.

He added however that drivers looking to stop the spread of the flu and protect themselves from infection are entitled to take along their own supplies.

All of Östersund's buses have been equipped with the sensitive breath alcohol ignition interlock devices, a move that has been welcomed by the operator despite the apparent threat of stationary buses.

"It is important that the interlock device is very sensitive," Micke Bernervall underlined.

MinnPost - New alcohol problem for schools: hand sanitizers

MinnPost - New alcohol problem for schools: hand sanitizers

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The Best Alcohol Free Hand Sanitizers


Cleanse and Protect Without Water or Alcohol

Coughing and sneezing increases with the cold and flu season; however, these are not the only times we need to think about hand sanitizers. Disease and germs are also a risk factor and using alcohol free hand sanitization products will reduce your risk of becoming ill. Many individuals
 prefer alcohol free hand sanitizers because they are less drying than those containing alcohol. Studies have proven that these hand sanitizers are effective in fighting the spread of germs and disease as those containing alcohol. If you are searching for the best alcohol free hand sanitizers, look no further than the top five alcohol free hand sanitizers:

1. The Germinator by BabyGanics is an alcohol free, foaming cleanser that kills 99.9% of germs. This waterless cleanser is safe for use with children because it does not contain alcohol but it also does not contain any other harsh chemicals, dyes or VOCs. The Germinator is also non-toxic and safe for people, pets and the environment. Available online from BabyGanics or at retailers such as Toys-R-Us. This makes a great item to include in baby shower gift baskets.

2. Soapopular® is not only alcohol-free but is fragrance-free and dye-free as well so that it is better for you. The easy to use foaming cleanser does not require water for rinsing which is convenient and easy to use anywhere you need to clean your hands. Effective against a wide array of bacteria, germs and viruses to protect your entire family without the issues associated with alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Conveniently available in many sizes including bulk orders. Visit their website for a free sample and pricing list.

3. CleanWell's All-Natural Hand Sanitizer does not contain alcohol and it is all natural too. There are no harsh or toxic chemicals used making this hand sanitizer safe for kids to use and gentle on little hands. CleanWell uses essential plant oils to kill germs so that it is safe for you and safe for the environment. This hand sanitizer will protect against diseases without over-drying your hands as other products containing alcohol do.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

NBC News Chicago: Serving Hand Sanitizer on The Rocks, to Students?


http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local-beat/Hand-Gel-On-the-Rocks-59230737.htmlHand Gel, On the Rocks

Parents and officials concerned about high alcohol content of hand sanitizer

You don't have to be a parent to know that little kids' hands get into everything and are often covered with dirt and germs. But some officials are saying that using hand sanitizers could be more harmful than helpful.
But in order to effective, schools that decide to use alcohol-based sanitizers (vs. readily-available non-alcohol alternatives), the alcohol products must have an alcohol content of at least 60 percent. That's more than some cocktails!
According to the Trib, some officials are worried about the alcohol's flammability and potential misuse as an intoxicant:
In Kane County, students can't use hand sanitizers in school except under adult supervision. The county regional office of education requires school districts to have a formal plan for how they'll dispense the germ-fighting product in classrooms and lunchrooms, and they must store larger pump containers and extra bottles in fireproof cabinets or outdoor sheds like other flammable products.
In DuPage County, the schools chief plans to discuss hand-sanitizing gels with the county's 42 district superintendents next week.
Adult supervision? Formal discussions? This reeks of overprotecting ... or does it? From glue to markers to aerosol cans, kids have been known to use all kinds of creative ways to get high.
And from the New England Journal of Medicine: "The Maryland Poison Center was called about a 49-year-old ... prison inmate who was ... drinking from a gallon container of Purell hand sanitizer over the course of the evening. It was discovered that this sanitizer contains 62% ethanol by weight (more than 70% alcohol by volume). The inmate's blood alcohol level was found to be 335 mg per deciliter."
Holy cow! Sounds like that hand gel should come with a little paper umbrella.
And a fire extinguisher.
"It doesn't matter if you have an ounce of this or a one-gallon bottle, alcohol is a flammable liquid," Cathy Stashak, a fire protection specialist with the Office of the State Fire Marshal, told the Tribune. "If there's an ignition source, it could catch on fire."

Still, officials remind parents and teachers that nothing beats good old-fashioned hand-washing.
And keeping your fingers out of your nose, of course.

 

NY Times Report: Soap and Water or Sanitizer, a Cleaning That Can Stave Off the Flu

reprinted from N.Y. Times article September 15, 2009


With Soap and Water or Sanitizer, a Cleaning That Can Stave Off the Flu


It sounds so simple as to be innocuous, a throwaway line in public-health warnings about swine flu. But one of the most powerful weapons against the new H1N1 virus is summed up in a three-word phrase you first heard from your mother: wash your hands.

A host of recent studies have highlighted the importance and the scientific underpinning of this most basic hygiene measure. One of the most graphic was done at the University of California, Berkley, where researchers focused video cameras on 10 college students as they read and typed on their laptops.

The scientists counted the times the students touched their faces, documenting every lip scratch, eye rub and nose pick. On average, the students touched their eyes, noses and lips 47 times during a three-hour period, once every four minutes.

Hand-to-face contact has a surprising impact on health. Germs can enter the body through breaks in the skin or through the membranes of the eyes, mouth and nose.

The eyes appear to be a particularly vulnerable port of entry for viral infections, said Mark Nicas, a professor of environmental health sciences at Berkeley. Using mathematical models, Dr. Nicas and colleagues estimated that in homes, schools and dorms, hand-to-face contact appears to account for about one-third of the risk of  flu infection, according to a report this month in the journal Risk Analysis.

In one study of four residence halls at the University of Colorado, two of the dorms had hand sanitizer dispensers installed in every dorm room, bathroom and dining area, and students were given educational materials about the importance of hand hygiene. The remaining two dorms were used as controls, and researchers simply monitored illness rates.

During the eight-week study period, students in the dorms with ready access to hand sanitizers had a third fewer complaints of coughs, chest congestion and fever. Over all, the risk of getting sick was 20 percent lower in the dorms where hand hygiene was emphasized, and those students missed 43 percent fewer days of school.

Young children benefit, too. In a study of 6,000 elementary school students in California, Delaware, Ohio and Tennessee, students in classrooms with hand sanitizers had 20 percent fewer absences due to illness. Teacher absenteeism in those schools dropped 10 percent.

Better hand hygiene also appears to make a difference in the home, lowering the risk to other family members when one child is sick. Harvard researchers studied nearly 300 families who had children 5 or younger in day care. Half the families were given a supply of hand sanitizer and educational materials; the other half were left to practice their normal hand washing habits.

In homes with hand sanitizers, the risk of catching a gastrointestinal illness from a sick child dropped 60 percent compared with the control families. The two groups did not differ in rates of respiratory illness rates, but families with the highest rates of sanitizer use had a 20 percent lower risk of catching such an illness from a sick child.

Regular soap and water and [appropriate] hand sanitizers are both effective in eliminating the H1N1 virus from the hands. In February, researchers in Australia coated the hands of 20 volunteers with copious amounts of a seasonal H1N1 flu virus. The concentration of virus was equivalent to the amount that would occur when an infected person used a hand to wipe a runny nose.

When the subjects did not wash their hands, large amounts of live virus remained even after an hour, said the lead author, Dr. M. Lindsay Grayson, a professor of medicine at the University of Melbourne. But using soap and water or a sanitizer virtually eliminated the presence of the virus.

Frequent hand washing will not eliminate risk. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, a bystander might be splattered by large droplets or may inhale airborne particles. In a recent Harvard study of hand sanitizer use in schools, hand hygiene practices lowered risk for gastrointestinal illness but not upper respiratory infections.

Still, it is a good idea to wash your hands regularly even if you’re not in contact people who are obviously ill. In a troubling finding, a recent study of 404 British commuters found that 28 percent had fecal bacteria on their hands. In one city, 57 percent of the men sampled had contaminated hands, according to the study, which was published this month in the journal Epidemiology and Infection.

For all those reasons, the Centers for Disease Control with other health organizations around the world, urge frequent hand washing with soap and water or appropriate hand sanitizers. (They also repeat some advice you may not have heard from your mother: cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not your bare hands.)

And as hospitals put stricter hand hygiene programs in place, absentee rates during cold and flu season also drop.

This blog invites readers to visit the following:

Texas School District To Implement Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizer System Wide: 8000 Students

COPPERAS COVE – The Copperas Cove school board voted Tuesday to dip into reserves to fund a $30,000 district-wide hand sanitizer program and approved a road map that will direct district technology plans for the next three years.

The hand sanitizer program proposed by Copperas Cove Independent School District Superintendent Rose Cameron to help stave off germs and the flu will place dispensers of a non-alcohol based foam sanitizer in high-traffic areas of all CCISD schools, such as cafeterias and computer labs.

Though the district would get the dispensers for free, Cameron has estimated the cost of the foam itself at about $150 a day as more than 8,200 students use it daily.

The board had to vote on the issue at the regular meeting Monday night because the $30,000 annual cost was not included in the budget already approved. The vote was unanimous.

"It's a fairly small amount when you look at our budget, and I think it's an important thing," Cameron said. "We don't do it just to do it, and this is something that came up after the budget process."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Industrial Safety * Hygiene News: Pandemic Report: Endorses Benzalkonium Chloride for Hand Sanitizing


Pandemic Protection
by Matthew Marc Henry
September 9, 2009


This article presents information about pandemic diseases (and more specifically H1N1) spreading throughout your place of business. Here are 15 simple points gathered from the nation’s leading sources on pandemic preparedness:

1 — Cover your cough – If you have to cough, show some manners, and consideration for the health of others… You may already be ill and not know it. Think about others, too. Are your co-workers coughing? Have them cover their mouths. If you want to be really safe, prepare your workplace with masks. Many do not understand the difference in masks, but it is really quite simple: N95 and other “rated” and form fitting masks are to protect the well from inhaling airborne pathogens. Procedural masks (like what a surgeon wears) are for the ill, to help them cover their mouths and noses to avoid expelling pathogens towards the Well. You can find both at any quality first aid supplier. (Avoid new “miracle masks” claiming unheard of protection and germ-killing properties… If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.)

2 — Wash your hands frequently – Cooties! Think about all the things you touch every day. Think about how many others touch them and breathe on them. Are they ill? Now… think about how often you touch your face. Try counting for 5-10 minutes… you would be surprised. Wash your hands. Hot soap and water are great. Hand sanitizers are handy when hot water is not available. Other great options are benzalkonium chloride (BZK) wipes — those nice clean towellettes — that are so handy to have around. Benzalkonium chloride solutions are rapidly acting biocidal agents with a moderately long duration of action. They are active against bacteria and some viruses, fungi, and protozoa.4 You can pick these up from your favorite first aid product company for about 3¢ each… usually in boxes of 100. Pass them around to co-workers, stash them in your pocket, wallet, purse, glove box, lunch box, briefcase, wherever.  

Matthew Marc Henry
Matthew is a managing safety consultant for Express Companies, Inc. (dba FirstAidStore.com/AmericanCPR. com/AedGrant.com). He is a former EMT and has served on several Cal/OSHA Advisory Committees and the Associated General Contractors Safety Committee.  

Wisconsin Schools: Only Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizers Permitted


Published September 09 2009

Fight flu with basic prevention


From Catlin Avenue to Sesame Street, everyone is gearing up for flu season. In addition to the seasonal flu bug, health care workers are on the lookout for H1N1 swine flu that spread worldwide this spring.
Prevention is the key, according to Nancy Smith, health service director for the Superior School District. She offered basic prevention tips.
Wash your hands and remind your child to wash theirs often. Cough or sneeze into a tissue, throw it away and wash your hands. Use your sleeve if you do not have a tissue. Stay home if you feel you are ill.
The Department of Homeland Security has teamed up with Elmo from Sesame Street to send out the message through public service announcements. See them online at www.flu.gov. The Centers for Disease Control offers these additional tips like avoiding close contact with people who are sick, keeping your distance if you are sick and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
District custodial staff do an excellent job of keeping Superior schools clean, Smith said. More alcohol-free hand sanitizer dispensers have been added at all schools, as well.
When the H1N1 flu began spreading in the spring, district personnel worked hard to get information out to families and staff about the disease and how to prevent it..."

Albany NY School System: Only Permitting Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizer

By JENNIFER GISH, Staff writer
Last updated: 8:59 p.m., Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"One of the things I've added to my chat with students are some really common-sense recommendations for stopping the flu," says Luke Rakoczy, principal of Van Antwerp Middle School in the Niskayuna Central School District. "We've just been putting in place really common-sense recommendations to kids, and one is the spread of virus through your hands, and the importance of washing your hands."
Rakoczy notes that hand sanitizer stations throughout the building were put in place a couple of years ago in response to concerns about the spread of the MRSA infection in area schools.

South Colonie doesn't allow students to bring in their own sanitizer because all chemical-based products used in the district are to be tracked on a "Material Safety Data Sheet." That way, if a student or staff member develops an allergic reaction, the district has a list of what substances are used in its facilities.

Instead, the district supplies one type of sanitizer -- an alcohol-free, fragrance-free product -- to its staff and students, Noetzel says."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

York County PA: Police investigate alcohol hand sanitizer

Report: Someone spiked Clover teacher's tea with hand sanitizer

By Shannon Greene - The Herald
CLOVER -- She wanted to quench her thirst with a refreshing sip of tea, but a Clover Middle School teacher got a foul taste of something else instead.
The teacher had stepped away from her desk for a few moments around 3:30 p.m. Sept. 2. After returning, she drank her tea and noticed it had a "peculiar taste," according to a York County Sheriff's Office report.
When the teacher looked down into her styrofoam cup, she noticed a foreign substance floating in her drink. She realized it was the hand sanitizer she keeps on her desk, the report stated.
At the time of the incident, five students were in her classroom waiting on a school bus, the report stated. The students told the assistant principal and school resource officer they didn't see anyone put anything in the teacher's drink.
The incident was reported to the sheriff's office Tuesday and police are investigating it as an assault.
A warning on Purell hand sanitizer says it should be kept out of reach of children. It contains 62 percent ethyl alcohol, and if swallowed could be poisonous.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New York State School District Recommends Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizers

By Susan Campriello
Hudson-Catskill Newspapers
Published: Tuesday, September 8, 2009 2:19 AM EDT
CATSKILL — As schools reopen, area educators and administrators are readying their buildings for learning, playing and perhaps spreading germs like those that could spread the H1N1 flu virus.

School administrations in Greene County are encouraging students and teachers to use common sense hygienic practices and are stepping up cleaning regimens to keep their buildings and grounds clean.

Hand sanitizing products will be available to students in every district, and staff will meet with health care professionals to learn the best way to keep classroom areas clean and students healthy.

School administrators said they will also follow guidelines set forth by the State Education Department and State Department of Health and keep in touch with the County Department of Health.

Hunter-Tannersville Central School District Superintendent Patrick Darfler-Sweeney said students will be provided with alcohol-free hand sanitizing products and parents will be encouraged to give their children alcohol-free products if they feel the need to give their children anything.

Monday, September 7, 2009

University of Michigan Places Restrictions on Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Due to Flammability

University of Michigan Places Restrictions on Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Due to Flammability
September 1st, 2009

If other colleges and universities across the country choose to follow the University of Michigan’s lead, a recent decision by officials at the Ann Arbor school could put a huge dent in the bottom lines of several companies in the $100-million hand sanitizer industry. It could also make centers of higher education across the country more safe.

Michigan Hand Sanitizer Memo 8-20-09

Based largely on a state fire marshal’s bulletin limiting where alcohol-based hand sanitizer dispensers can be placed because of concerns about the product’s flammability, University of Michigan officials recently placed restrictions on the use and placement of those dispensers on campus.

According to Richard Fitzgerald, a spokesperson for the 40,000-students-strong university, an Aug. 20 memo went out to various departments across the school’s 3,000-plus-acre campuses outlining the new restrictions. Among the factors influencing the decision to limit the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer products on campus were the following:

* Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are classified as a Class I Flammable Liquid. Therefore we cannot recommend their use in non-healthcare facilities;

* When considering the use of alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR), facility representatives shall consider the potential misuse of the product, the potential hazard due to the facility occupancy, past history of fires and other circumstances;

* Dispensers containing this product should not be located in a required corridor or exit, or any area open to a required corridor or exit;

* This product must be isolated from high temperatures and possible ignition sources such as, but not limited to, open-flame, electrical equipment, switches or receptacles; and

* The storage of quantities (10 gallons or more), and dispensing of this product shall comply with the requirements the Michigan Flammable and Combustible Liquids Rules.

In the same memo, university officials recommended that procurement officials within the various offices on campus purchase hand sanitizer dispensers containing benzalkonium chloride (BZK).

Amidst fears of an outbreak of the H1N1 virus (a.k.a., “Swine Flu”) this fall and a deluge of news stories and CDC recommendations on the subject, one can only wonder how long it will be before other schools follow Michigan’s lead.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Waco Schools:Alcohol Hand Sanitizers Get Kids Drunk; District Chooses "Soapopular" Alcohol-free Hand Sanitizer

We couldn't make these stories up..
This from News Channel 25 in Waco, Texas

WEST- A product being used in schools to protect your children from germs is getting some students into trouble. Teens are actually drinking hand sanitizer, which is about 65 percent ethyl alcohol, to get drunk.

Although students are not ingesting hand sanitizer at West I.S.D., the district is being proactive, hoping to prevent what's going on nationwide. The district is replacing the alcohol-based hand sanitizers in bathrooms and classrooms with a non-alcohol based sanitizer.


Many hand sanitizers are mostly ethyl alcohol, which is the same as in alcoholic beverages. But they can also contain isopropyl alcohol which can be dangerous if ingested.

"There's also ingredients in these which can be a ingredient in antifreeze and can be very toxic," said Dr. Hinds, who has a strong warning for teens even thinking about tasting hand sanitizer.

"It's very dangerous. Don't do it. It should never be ingested for any reason whatsoever," said Dr. Hinds.