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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Alcohol-Awareness Month--And Hand Sanitizers

April is the National Alcohol Awareness Month...and in observance, we were made aware that the State of Ohio Department of Health has been citing senior care facilities for violating new regs with respect to soap products available within common areas.

It seems that Ohio's DOH has figured out that most liquid soaps contain glycerine, and that glycerine is not only highly flammable, but when combining with friction activity-i.e. rubbing hands together with the soap, the combination results in CHO by-product. CHO is a form of alcohol.

Based on concerns specific to senior care facility residents (exposure of alcohol-based products to those with dementia) the State has sought fit to prohibit the use of glycerine based liquid soaps in certain state-licensed facilities. Bravo.

On another front-we read about a brouhaha in Pennsylvania, where the Department of Public Welfare recently made note of widespread concerns relating to the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers within state-licensed senior care and nursing facilities. Understandably, the Department of Public Welfare pointed out that alcohol-based hand sanitizers were not only flammably, but potentially dangerous to residents of these facilities, and that facility operators need to take special precautionary steps with regard to accessibility of these products and their use.

Immediately thereafter, PANPHA, an advocacy group of some type, expressed frustration with the State and unbeknownst to them, there are numerous alcohol-free hand sanitizer products that are proven to be not only equally effective, but are necessarily more cost-efficient. Adding insult to injury, the advocacy group contacted Rep. John Bear, who sits on the House Aging & Older Adult Services Committee, said welfare officials have begun issue citations against facilities that don't keep hand sanitizer behind lock and key.

According to a statement that defies common sense to anyone that has researched the topic, and has not received campaign contributions from those that might be profiting from the sale of alcohol-based products:

"This defies common sense," said Bear, whose district includes the second- largest number of retirement homes of any legislator's. "It also goes against the best practices outlined by the Centers for Disease Control on how to best get rid of germs.

One manufacturer clasped their hands and then sent this note off to PANPHA, and cc'd Rep. Bear, who was "unavailable to comment" after receipt of the message

Dear Mr. Barth-
After reading a recent article re: apparent confusion about hand sanitizer products, I was compelled to reach out directly.
It would appear that comments attributed to your staff lead some to believe that your organization might be unaware of the fact that there are more than several manufacturers of alcohol-free hand sanitizer products that are well-documented to be equally, if not more effective when compared to the legacy toxic/flammable alcohol-based hand sanitizer products.
Its almost frightening that awareness about this issue has yet to reach some organizations, especially when considering that tens of dozens of federal agencies, state and local governments, school systems and numerous health care venues--particularly senior care facilities-- have all made the determination that alcohol-free alternatives, specifically those whose active ingredient is benzalknonium chloride, are 'hands down', a much more appropriate alternative when washing hands with soap (non-glycerine and non-antimicrobial) and water is not readily available.
All of these facilities, from the US Naval Dept of Surface Warfare, to dozens of senior care facilities, have banned the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer products for the obvious reasons:
1. destroy protection skin cells
2. non effective when applied to dirty/soiled hands
3. flash point risk
4. toxicity
5. no persistency. alcohol-based products dry within seconds after applying and are no longer effective
The fact that alcohol-based gel products are 2x-3x MORE expensive when compared to foam formatted, alcohol-free products such as those that we manufacture, should certainly inspire your organization to review the attached--or better still, to do your own independent research, ideally without the influence of vendors that have been providing alcohol-based products.
As just one example of experts that have researched this topic, its worth nothing that our company's products have been endorsed by the State of Connectict Infection Control Nurse Association.
Finally--US Center For Disease Control senior spokesperson Nancy Stewart has repeatedly stated that contrary to a now 13 year old document which has since become the 'bible' for many, the CDC DOES NOT recommend alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and in point of fact, the 2002 CDC "hand hygiene recommendation statement", originally written in 1996, contains numerous disclaimers and warnings with respect to alcohol-based gel sanitizers.
We'd necessarily be more than happy to provide your organization with extensive lab reports--including those from other manufacturers, along with product samples for your expert staff to evaluate accordingly.

d/b/a MGS Brands
d/b/a MGS Soapopular
2490 Black Rock Turnpike
Fairfield, Connecticut 06825
Tel: 203.255.0034
US Distributor of Soapopular: The Consumer Market's Most Popular Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizer
Global License: Hy5

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