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

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Teacher Sentenced :Forced Students to Lick Alcohol Hand Sanitizer from His Hands

we just can't make this stuff up...just another of thousands of cases, and why this blog has been promoting the use of alcohol-free hand sanitizer



Michigan Teen Spikes Teacher's Soda With Alcohol Hand Sanitizer

MICHIGAN CITY — Elston Middle School staff called police to the school Thursday to deal with a student who allegedly put alcohol-based hand sanitizer in a teacher’s pop can Thursday.

Police arrested the 13-year-old boy at 3:10 p.m. and charged him with criminal recklessness.
According to the police report, the teacher complained of feeling ill after drinking the beverage, which allegedly tasted funny and smelled like alcohol. A school nurse released the teacher after calling poison control.

While the teacher was in the nurse’s office, the class was asked what happened. According to the police report, 13 of the 18 students in the class said they saw the accused boy use the hand sanitizer, and a few saw him put it into the teacher’s drink.



The root beer and alcohol hand sanitizer were taken as evidence.

Inmates Drunk on Alcohol Hand Sanitizer Try Escape: Prison Warden Missed The Memo?

And we thought that every prison had received "the memo" that prohibits alcohol-based hand sanitizer within state and federal prisons... 

Three men who tried to break out of the Saskatoon Correctional Centre in September are on their way to federal prison.
Kendal Campeau, 20, Brett Wapass, 21, and Randy Brabant, 23, pleaded guilty in provincial court to charges of attempted escape, kidnapping and forcibly seizing three jail guards while armed with shanks made from an oven rack.
All three inmates were drunk on prison-made alcohol and hand sanitizer when they forced their way into a staff office at the facility on the night of Sept. 11, holding weapons to the guards' throats and demanding their keys, court heard.



Sunday, December 5, 2010

#Flu Season Claims First Fatalities: CDC Reminds About Hand Hygiene

According to the US Centers For Disease Control, the Flu Season is officially open, with precincts in Atlanta reporting the first fatalities.

While its important to practice proper hand hygiene throughout the year, this is as a good a time as any to focus on best practices.

Whether you're traveling, attending increasing number of family and or business get-togethers, welcoming home relatives from college, or simply shaking a lot more hands than usual, when washing with soap and water is not readily convenient, be smart when selecting your hand sanitizer. Keep the holiday spirits in a glass, and use non-alcohol-hand sanitizer for the purpose of taking additional hand hygiene steps. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Alabama jail inmates caught drinking alcohol-based hand sanitizer

 makes one wonder what the jailers were thinking by even allowing alcohol-based hand sanitizers; most correctional facilities prohibit it! (explaining why many venues have introduced alcohol-free hand sanitizer products)

By Lisa Rogers
Times Staff Writer
Six Etowah County jail inmates have been punished after they tried to use an alcohol-based gel hand sanitizer to get drunk.

The sanitizer was broken down and turned into a liquid by using regular table salt, Etowah County Sheriff’s Office Chief of Corrections Scott Hassell said.
Hassell said jailers were made aware of the method that could be used to break down the sanitizer about a year ago, but this is the first time inmates have been caught doing it.

When salt is added to the gel, it breaks down and becomes denatured ethanol, Dale Hyatt, the environmental health and safety officer at the jail, said. He said ethanol evaporates quickly, which is why it is used in the hand sanitizer. The liquid smells much like rubbing alcohol.

Hand sanitizer is not readily available to the inmates, but it is in each section of the jail after last year’s H1N1 flu scare.
Hyatt said sanitizing the jail is done often, with door knobs sanitized with germ killer every two hours. He said the hand sanitizer is in small containers and usually accessible only to the jailers.
The inmates involved in the incident had gotten a small bottle of hand sanitizer and put a small amount of salt in it, he said.
But the alcohol in the hand sanitizer is not the same as in alcoholic drinks.

The ethanol from the sanitizer metabolizes in the liver and the drink gives a sugar rush. The liquid in larger amounts can be toxic, however.

This method only takes a couple of minutes, Dodd said, but it doesn’t produce a drinkable alcohol.
It’s a different process than the old recipe known as “jailhouse julep,” he said.
Inmates will use fresh fruit and mix it with bread in an airtight jar to make alcohol, but the process takes several weeks, Dodd said.
“The mixture of the yeast and sugar turns into alcohol,” he said.
Random cell searches are done every day to prevent the making of julep and other disruptions to the inmates, Hassell said.
Hassell said parents need to be aware that sanitizer is being used in this way.
“If the inmates have learned how to do this, others know, too,” Hassell said. “But the bad thing is that it makes you sick, and it can be toxic.”

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hand Hygiene Up; Hospital-Acquired-Ilness Down

Improved hand hygiene amongst hospital staff is a major factor in the dramatic decline in healthcare associated infections, according to a recent study.

HPA figures show healthcare associated infections, such as MRSA and Colstridium Difficile have fallen dramatically since the NPSA launched the Clean Your Hands Campaign in 2004 – with the aim of improving hand hygiene amongst healthcare staff.

Between April 2004 and March 2010 MRSA rates in hospitals across England fell from 7,233 to 1,898. Similarly, cases Clostridium Difficile (C.diff) in hospitals in England have fallen from 55, 498 in to 25,604 in recent years.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Purell Exec Says Use of Product Won't Protect Against Flu or Viruses; Yale University Report

In a smartly-written article by Yale Graduate Student Michaela Panter that demystifies the nonsense that Purell marketers have been perpetuating (by simply saying nothing and otherwise allowing to perpetuate), Ms. Panter points out the little-advertised non-features of pouring alcohol-gel on to your hands in the hope it protects against germs and bacteria..

"...In contrast, stomach viruses and the cold virus, which are non-enveloped, are alcohol-resistant. Dr. James Arbogast of GOJO Industries, the company that invented Purell, suggests that a sanitizer made of 70 percent alcohol might inactivate stomach viruses more effectively, but such high-concentration sanitizers aren’t in common use (Purell is a 62% potion; but if you mix in two tbls of salt into a handful of alcohol-gel sanitizer, you've got yourself a great home-brewed cocktail).

Click on the title link for the full report from the Yale Daily News.
Sidebar note to the lovely lawyers at GOJO:  Do a little research re: 1st Amendment before contemplating sending any threatening letters. We just report what's being reported by others.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

GOJO --maker of Purell alcohol hand sanitizer- faces $1 million lawsuit

courtesy of Akron Beacon Journal's Ohio.com
nice people! (not)..
A Cleveland area container company is suing GOJO Industries Inc. of Akron, the maker of the hand-sanitizer Purell, saying GOJO owes it more than $1 million.

Kaufman Container Co. of Brook Park contends that GOJO owes it the money after canceling outstanding orders for packaging for a GOJO ''hand-sanitizing product.'' The lawsuit, filed in Summit County Common Pleas Court, does not name the product.

The complaint says that in April 2009, GOJO began buying large quantities of packaging, including plastic bottles and pump dispensers, for its ''hand-sanitizing product... in anticipation of the upcoming flu season and projected H1N1 pandemic.''

Kaufman calls itself a ''packaging sourcing center'' and says in the suit that it worked with manufacturers to have the packaging made to GOJO's specifications.

Kaufman contends it tried to cancel orders made with manufacturers on behalf of GOJO, but was able to cancel only 85 percent. Kaufman says it could not cancel the remaining 15 percent because the items ''had already been manufactured or because the orders constituted work in progress.''
The value of those items was more than $1 million, Kaufman says.

The breach-of-contract suit has been assigned to Summit County Common Pleas Judge Patricia A.
 

Monday, October 18, 2010

#Staples Inc. Study: Hand Hygiene Starts With Sanitary Workplace

Staples Survey Finds Germs Are Increasingly Joining the Work Force
Oct 16, 2010 (Close-Up Media via COMTEX) -- A new study shows that many office workers feel compelled to be in the office when they're sick while few take enough steps to keep their workspace clean.

A recent survey by Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc., reveals that 65 percent of workers reported coming to work sick, while 80 percent reported cleaning their workspace only once a week or less. At that rate, keeping germs at bay in the office is a staggering task.

Studies estimate about 40,000 people will get the flu this year and a study by Challanger, Gray & Christmas estimates the flu alone results in approximately 70 million missed work days and nearly $10 billion in lost productivity each year.

"Employers are concerned about decreased productivity due to sick employees and are looking for ways to maintain healthy workspaces throughout their facilities," said Lisa Hamblet, vice president for Staples Advantage and head of its Facility Solutions line of business. "With employees coming to work sick, it's difficult to prevent germs from invading the office altogether. There are easy preventive measures that can minimize the spread of germs within the facility and keep the business going." With another flu season upon us, cleaning experts at Staples Facility Solutions have prepared a tip sheet with easy steps employers can take to maintain a healthy workforce.

Make hand and surface sanitizing products easily accessible throughout the office. Sanitizers reduce germs and bacteria by 99.9 percent. Another study by reported a 21 percent reduction of absenteeism with hand sanitizer on the desktop. But only 38 percent of workers surveyed have started using disinfectant wipes since the H1N1 outbreak.

Supply tissues and educate the office about "respiratory etiquette." A surprising 68 percent of workers surveyed reported seeing coworkers sneezing or coughing without using a tissue or covering their mouth.

Set Aside Time at Work for Personal Clean Up. By setting aside a time for all employees to clean and sanitize their workspace and providing sanitizing wipes, paper towels and spray, employers can create a more "germ" conscious workforce and a healthier office. This is particularly necessary with the number of people who eat at their workspace, a surprising 92 percent of workers according to the Staples Advantage survey.

Encourage proper handwashing. A building-wide hand washing campaign can be an effective way to remind workers to wash hands for at least 20 seconds as recommended by the Center for Disease Control. Provide touch-free soap and towel dispensers to further minimize the spread of germs.

Survey participants reinforce that they want employers to get involved in preventing illness around the work place. More than half the respondents (54 percent) said employers should provide "touch-free" restroom products and 40 percent indicated flu shots should be administered at the office.

Staples Advantage conducted an online survey of office workers at more than 100 businesses of all sizes across the US. The survey, conducted in August, asked a series of questions about workplace hygiene and its overall impact in today's business environment.

#Apple iPhones & iPads: Petri Dishes for Bacteria

New research suggests a cell phone has 18 times the amount of bacteria found on a toilet handle.

"If you put a virus on a surface, like an iPhone, about 30 percent of it will get on your fingertips," says Timothy Julian, a Stanford University doctoral student who co-authored the study on the spread of viruses. And it won't be long before you touch your eyes, nose or mouth -- the mucous membranes through which many viruses get into the body.


Peter Collignon, a specialist in infectious diseases at the Australian National University, followed research that found a higher risk of transmitting pathogens from glass surfaces like on iPads to human skin.

"You wouldn't have hundreds of people using the same glass or cup, but theoretically if hundreds of people share the same keyboard or touch pad, then effectively that's what you're doing," the Age quoted Collignon as saying in a phone interview.

"The germs we transmit via our hands can frequently have germs that can cause anything from the flu to multi-drug resistant diseases."

Scores of people visit Apple stores around the country every day to play with the company's latest gadgets. Earlier this year, an investigation by the New York Daily News found that of four iPads swabbed in two Apple stores, two contained harmful pathogens.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Kimberly-Clark Expert: US Businesses Lose $74 Billion/yr To Absenteeism

"Every year, businesses in the United States lose $74 billion due to absenteeism. And the germs that cause absenteeism are coming in the door every day with their employees and then being spread throughout the workplace," said Andy Clement, director of the hand hygiene and tissue business for Kimberly-Clark Professional.  "It's crucial to break the chain of transmission wherever these employees go."

According to one study, use of appropriate hand sanitizer can reduce a person's sick days by 21 percent. 

"Change hand and surface hygiene behaviors and make these behaviors part of an office worker's daily routine and you can break the links in the germ transmission chain," Clement said. "If you do, you'll have a healthy workplace and healthier employees."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Amarillo TX School System: Kids Inhaling Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers

Courtesy of Amarillo Globe News
 (click on title link for original source)


I guess if someone needed a high bad enough, they could get one off toothpaste. Who knows? What makes anyone even think about something like this?

But here's a memo that was sent from the Amarillo ISD last week to its schools:

"Please share this with appropriate staff at your school.

"One of our schools reported that students are inhaling hand sanitizer to get high. After researching and calling the Texas Panhandle Poison Control Center, here is what we understand about this trend.

"The brand they are huffing is Germ-X. Germ-X is 62% alcohol. The alcohol makes the lining of the nose tingle and may make them dizzy. There is no known connection between inhaling hand sanitizer and truly getting high. The dangers are in other areas of concern:

"1. Germ-X contains phenol. While phenol does not create a high, it can lead to respiratory arrest and possible death. Huffing (inhaling) phenol is a bad idea.

"2. Several blogs cited inhaling Germ-X as the user's gateway to drinking alcohol. There have been cases where teens and others drink hand sanitizer for the alcohol. This is likened to the alcoholic that resorts to rubbing alcohol when that is the only thing that is available.

"3. The tendency to inhale Germ-X is most likely an indicator that the youth may be experimenting with other inhalants. According to our data, inhalant experimentatin is most likely to occur between 4th and 8th grade. Some youth will try it and never try anything else. Others will become addicted like gasoline, paint, etc. and contine using for many years.

"If you have Germ-X in your classrooms, keep an eye out for misuse. Also, if you have a child who inhales Germ-X or any other inhalant, get them fresh air and consider contacting the parents so they can safeguard their child once he or she leaves the school."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pennsylvania High School Fire: Teens Ignite Alcohol Hand Sanitizer Dispenser


2 Teens charged in press box, Royalton arson fires 

by Debra Schell and Jim Lewis Press And Journal Staff : 9/22/2010

Two Middletown boys, ages 12 and 13, set a fire that destroyed the concession stand and press box at Middletown Area High School’s baseball field, using a lighter to ignite hand sanitizer as it dripped from a dispenser on the wall, Lower Swatara Twp. police said.

click on title link for full story

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizers Not Just For Hands!

Here's an interesting testimonial forwarded to us...and referencing one of the more popular alcohol-free hand sanitizer products--suggesting that its not only useful when applying to the hands!


From: mmaser [mailto:maser@xxx.com]
Sent: Monday, September 20, 2010 7:29 PM

You may recall I contacted you two weeks ago to inquire about using 'Soapopular' alcohol-free hand sanitizer to address a jock-itch (fungal) infection that was plaguing me, and I said I'd let you know how it turned out. If you're sitting down, I'll break the news to you:

Using just under 1/2 bottle of 'Soapopular' (100 ml [3 oz] size; $3.00 retail cost), the product was instrumental in resolving my infection; That's right, I applied it 2-3 times per day for 3-5 days, then once per day for another 4-5 days, and voilà, the infection has completely cleared. 

That means your product did something that none of the other 20 or so products that I tried in the past 3.5 months did. These products included "All-Stop Healing Gel" [available through www.qbased.com)  which, as we discussed, is comprised of almost the same ingredients as 'Soapopular' (and costs a lot more).  Now, as I was mentioning to you, I was trying All-Stop when I contacted you but I wasn't happy with it. Despite it's 'guarantee' (the only product I tried that offered a guarantee btw), it left a residue that hardened and then became very flaky and prickly. This added to my discomfort and I would not recommended AS HG because of this. Your product did NOT leave such a residue, it went on easily, dried quickly and, overall, I would definitely recommend it to others suffering from this god-awful affliction. 

[What led me to Soapopular you ask? Intrigued by the “All-Stop” guarantee (what was backed by many testimonials) but unsatisfied with the results of using the product, I checked the ingredients, saw the main ingredient - Benzalkonium Chloride - is pretty common in hand disinfectants, headed to the drug store to check these out, then saw that the ingredient listing of Soapopular is very similar -- most similar, in fact, to any of about 5 others that were available and that I checked. I thought $3 was worthwhile investment, considering I'd already spent hundreds of dollars, headed home, did a big test patch on my arm, then called you the next day. ] 

I think that's pretty remarkable and I hope you will bring this story to others, including researchers for a few reasons: 

i. The product was effective in a short period of time!

ii. Conventional, over-the-counter remedies for this, including the often-available Tinactin, Cruex, Micatin, Lamisil, Clotrimazole, Sporanox were ineffective for me. I tried all of these - creams and oral prescriptions, and none of them resolved the infection. I think there are a couple of reasons for this: the creams continue to moisturize and that just is not the way to go in trying to resolve this; then there is the issue of organism resistance to these pharmaceutical products. In the many scientific research papers I scanned about this condition (I have a science background) I kept reading about how resistance by to the Tinea organisms to these conventional pharmaceutical products (all mentioned above) is increasing, worldwide, and that researchers are now seeking broad-spectrum anti-microbials to improve the efficacy in overcoming such infections. 

iii. Males, in particular, need some better (more effective) products to choose from than the few ineffective products that I found stocked on almost all the drug store shelves I checked. 

Obviously, you will need a greater population of test-rabbits than just me! The only thing I would add is that I experienced no injurious or discomforting side effects in 10 days of using Soapopular, something I sure can't say about almost every product I tried. 

I have provided my initial comments to you about Soapopular unsolicited and without any understanding or expectation of reward. 
Given my experiences in attempting to address and overcome this infection (I wouldn't wish what I just went through on my worst enemy), 
I think you may have something that will help ease the discomfort of this for other people and I'm pleased to contribute to those efforts in some way. 

FYI - here is some more biographical info on me:   I am a 52-year old male, married, professional, fit, with good overall health (so I thought!). I believe I acquired this infection - a pretty resistant organism IMO - through one yoga class I attended at a local recreation center late last spring. 


Sincerely, Michael M.
Gibsons BC Canada

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Alcohol-Hand-Sanitizer 'Abusers' Looking For Quick High


Courtesy of CBC News (click on link for source story)

People with substance abuse problems are turning to hand sanitizer in order to feed their addiction.
"Everybody always prefers to be buying real alcohol over this but if we got nothing else then we'll drink it," a Regina woman named Lorretta explained.
CBC News agreed not to use the last names of people who agreed to talk about consuming hand sanitizer.
"It bothers me," Loretta said about choosing that type of alcohol. "But I gotta get my fix somehow."
A spokeswoman for Regina police told CBC News that officers were encountering intoxicated people in Regina's downtown area "about one or two times a week."
Elizabeth Popowich said that in some cases the people were found with hand sanitizing liquids on them. In other cases they explained to officers that they had just consumed the liquid.
"It is becoming an epidemic," Loretta suggested. "You see the bottles all over the street everywhere you go."

Mixed with water

Loretta's boyfriend, Dallas, told CBC News that it is relatively easy to find the alcohol in public buildings or stores.
He said he mixes the liquid with water, and will consume an entire bottle to achieve a high.
"The whole bottle," he said. "I drink lots."
Dallas added the addiction takes it toll on everyone connected to the substance abuser.
"I don't like it," he said. "It just doesn't drag me down. It drags everybody else down with it."
Shawn Fraser, executive director of the downtown Carmichael Outreach Centre, says he has had to take hand cleaner away from people coming to the centre.
"People who are faced with the disease of alcoholism will find a way to drink," Fraser noted. "Hand sanitizer... seems to be what's going on now. But if not, people still find a way."
Popowich noted alcohol-based hand sanitizer is not a controlled substance and it would be difficult to prevent people from obtaining the product, as it is readily available.

Monday, September 13, 2010

University of Virginia: Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers Don't Work..

Courtesy of  news outlet "Daily Progress"...

A team of researchers at the University of Virginia found that alcohol-based hand sanitizers fail to significantly reduce the frequency of infection from rhinovirus or influenza.

"An alcohol hand disinfectant with enhanced antiviral activity failed to significantly reduce the frequency of infection with either rhinovirus or influenza," wrote the authors of the study presented Sunday at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) here.

The results came as a surprise to research team leader Dr. Ronald Turner, whose study was sponsored by the Dial Corp. which makes various care and cleaning products, including alcohol-based hand sanitizer.


[Maybe this is because alcohol is notorious for stripping away protective skin cells, and in turn, increasing the risk of exposure to pathogens? duh...]

click on title link for the full news story courtesy of "The Daily Progress"

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Canadian Town Getting Drunk From Alcohol Hand Sanitizers

Courtesy of CBC News..click on title link for the full story..
By QMI Agency
Last Updated: September 11, 2010 2:10pm

Police in Regina say they are finding people intoxicated from drinking hand sanitizing liquids which contain alcohol.

CBC News said the problem has cropped up in Regina's downtown and may be connected to accessible sources of sanitizer, such as in shopping centres and the public areas of local hospitals.

A spokeswoman for police told CBC News that officers believe people have stolen large containers of alcohol-based sanitizers to drink the contents.

Friday, August 27, 2010

4th Grader Suspended For Sniffing Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer

just another story illustrating why many schools are migrating to non-alcohol based hand sanitizers..and burning up the alcohol-based produts

from CBS News, Woodland California

4th Grader Suspended For Sniffing Hand Sanitizer
More Local News
Reporting
Kris Pickel
WOODLAND, Calif. (CBS13) ―



A local 4th grader was suspended from school, after officials say he was caught sniffing hand [alcohol-based] sanitizer.

The mother says she tried to talk to the principal, who said the suspension was going to stand and would also be a mark on his record.

Matteo Meier, a 4th grader at Dingle Elementary, is feeling pummeled by a school punishment.

"I got in trouble and I got suspended," he says.

Matteo says friends at school told him to sniff hand sanitizer. He's done it occasionally since last year, but yesterday he got caught by a teacher who gave him a suspension and a scare.

The nine-year-old says he didn't know it was wrong, and didn't get a warning.

"If it was that bad, they could have made me lose recess instead of suspending me," he said.

There is a problem with the hand sanitizer violating the school zero tolerance drug use; CBS13 talked to poison control and a drug rehab center, and they've never heard of anyone getting high off smelling hand sanitizer.

After calls from CBS13, district officials looked into the case.

"I believe apologies will be made," says district official, Mike Steven, after being asked if Matteo would receive an apology.

Sarah Brett, Matteo's mother, believes there was a rush to judge her son, because of past behavior problems, which he's been working on.

Sarah says the hand sanitizer shows that kids are already experimenting, and the school should use this as a teachable moment.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Not Smart: Smart Cell Phones Spreading Germs; Hand Hygiene Horror?

Below article is courtesy of UK The Co-Operative Pharmacy, a publication of the Co-Operative Group; a global business enterprise employing 80,000 and annual revenue of $14 billion..

New technology, from smart and mobile phones to laptops, could be spreading illnesses and potentially killer diseases because of poor hand hygiene, according to research released today (16 August 2010) by The Co-operative Pharmacy.

Each year, more than 750 people die and almost one million people¹ are ill with bugs which can be passed on or contracted by not washing hands.

As part of its ethical strategy, The Co-operative Pharmacy commissioned the study by ICM² into hand hygiene, which revealed that one in three people use a mobile phone or BlackBerry when on the toilet while one in twenty people also surf on a laptop.

Almost one in three people admitted to not using soap or handwash and one in five people don’t always wash their hands after being on the loo.

Mobile and smart phones³ have been shown to be dirty and have high levels of bacteria, which indicate poor personal hygiene, and act as a breeding ground for other bugs.

The research by The Co-operative Pharmacy also found that one in ten people said they never or only sometimes washed their hands while people admitted to reading a newspaper or magazine (48 per cent), cleaning their teeth, drinking and eating when on the toilet.

John Nuttall, Managing Director of The Co-operative Pharmacy, said: “As a leading community pharmacy we believe it is vital to make people aware of the importance of good hand hygiene when visiting the toilet.

“In the UK, the new trend of using smart and mobile phones in addition to laptops on the toilet is inadvertently raising the risk of the spread of infections, which affect hundreds of thousands of people. The symptoms are very unpleasant for most people and, in some circumstances, can be fatal.”

Dr. Paul Cleary, Epidemiologist, Health Protection Agency, said: “Hand-washing is important at all times, but particularly after going to the toilet, before and after preparing food and before eating.

“Thorough handwashing with soap and water is the best protection against C diff and viral infections, such as the common cold, flu and norovirus. It also reduces the chances of cross-contamination when preparing food and therefore affords some protection against food-borne infections, such as salmonella and campylobacter.”

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bacterial Outbreak Puts Florida Health Officials On Alert

(Fort Lauderdale, FL) -- There's a bad bacteria being passed around in Florida's Palm Beach and Broward Counties.

Doctors and hospitals have reported a spike in the number of cases of shigellosis.

So far the cases have been isolated, but experts say this may be a good time to remind kids about the importance of washing hands and proper hand hygiene solutions so they can avoid the illness, which causes intestinal problems.

Also, moms and dads changing dirty diapers should exercise caution.

It was three years ago when an outbreak of shigellosis in South Florida sickened nearly 400 people.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Infection Control Professionals Prefer Foam to Gel for Antiseptic Hand Cleansers

The results of a survey conducted at APIC 2010, indicate that infection control professionals prefer foam over gel 2:1 for antiseptic hand cleansers. According to the Antiseptic Skin Cleanser End User Survey July 2010, "60% [of infection control professionals] prefer an antiseptic hand cleanser in foam form compared to the 30% who prefer gel form." Other survey results include the strong desire for antiseptic hand cleanser products to be less irritating to the skin..

ed. note: Most, if not all alcohol-free hand sanitizers are dispensed in foam format..while the vast majority of legacy, alcohol-based products are gel format.

Purell To Request Temporary Restraining Order Against Matt Lauer??

After hearing about a legal action taken by the most ubiquitous brand in the alcohol hand sanitizer space--which targets a minority-owned firm for purportedly 'misleading customers about the dangers of our alcohol hand sanitizer..and taking away our customers..", we tripped over the following news clip from the NBC Today Show.

This is the clip in which Matt Lauer broadcast to millions of people and reported that among other things, in 2006 alone, more than 10,000 children were reported to have been subjected to alcohol poisoning after ingesting alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Interesting to note, Lauer held up a bottle of Purell in front of the camera to cite the leading brand.

Sort of makes one smirk when hearing that a corporate behemoth is laying blame on losing market share to an otherwise small competitor that promotes alcohol-free hand sanitizers, when this video is merely one of dozens of similar news stories that numerous media outlets have broadcast over the past 3 years.

Hand sanitizer warning for kids
Hand sanitizer warning for kids


Sidebar note: We received the following yesterday; from an RN working in a mid-west hospital and opining on the same manufacturer:
"I am a RN who works in a hospital that uses Purell. I have recently developed some allergies to chemicals in Purell. My hands have fissures from over drying also. I am trying to find [an alcohol-free] product that is acceptable for use in the hospital..."
Thank you
K. Hall RN BSNs

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Largest Maker of Alcohol-Hand Sanitizer Lays Off 150 Workers; Consumers Voting With Their Hands and Moving to Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizer Products

Excerpts from July 15 news story published by the Beacon Journal in Ohio..

GOJO Industries — maker of instant hand sanitizer Purell — will lay off about 150 employees at its manufacturing facility in Cuyahoga Falls.

GOJO said the company decided to reduce its work force ''only after other options were exhausted.''

When canvassing various marketers of non-alcohol hand sanitizer products and discovering that their respective businesses have been doing "just fine, thank you..most people call to say they won't buy alcohol hand sanitizers any more..", this outlet would surmise that when it comes to the curtain falling on alcohol-based hand sanitizer products, we can hear the fat lady singing..

Side-bar note: a little birdie whispered to us that GOJO--the people that make Purell, has initiated a "cease and desist" notification via the court system against a minority-owned firm that happens to be one of the more outspoken marketers of alcohol-free hand sanitizers.

According to sources, included in the citations made in GOJO's 100-page+ legal letter from their law firm to the company in question, GOJO is asserting that "the defendant has been stealing business from [plaintiff] and hurting their market leadership role by telling consumers that Purell (and other) alcohol hand sanitizers irritates the skin, is flammable, and is not a really good idea to put into the hands of un-supervised children of any age..."

Among other recourse in this legal action, GOJO is purportedly seeking the defendant to pay the profits made by the defendant in the course of defendant's selling their alcohol-free hand sanitizer products, profits that otherwise would have been made by GOJO, if those stupid consumers would have bought Purell instead.

When we hear about those kinds of David v. Goliath law suits and the related assertions, that's when we know the industry incumbent (a/k/a plaintiff) is already yesterday's news, and one can only guess that their [plaintiff]executives are looking at the value of their corporate pension plans and hoping they can retire next week!

Tune in to the hand sanitizer war story as it unfolds right into our hands!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Health Care Reform: $50 Billion In Cost Savings From Hand Hygiene


With nearly 2 million people dying a year from Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI) and costing up to $50 billion annually, the Joint Commission as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are pressing for higher hand hygiene compliance rates. 

A recent study showed that hand-washing and sanitizing in a healthcare setting can be as low as 34 percent.

Complying with Government Requirements

Food-borne illnesses cause 82 million illnesses in the U.S. annually with 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths.

They cost $152 billion annually in direct medical expenses and lost productivity, health experts estimate.

Foodborne illnesses are caused by a host of pathogens. Hand-washing is recognized as one of the simplest, most effective way of reducing the rate of food-borne illnesses. 

Because it takes no more than 15 seconds of friction to dissolve, alcohol-free hand sanitizers substantially reduce the bacterial and viral contamination of hands and the transmission of illness-causing microorganisms

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Whooping Cough Epidemic: Another Hand Hygiene Crisis

With yet another hand hygiene crisis unfolding, this time a whooping cough "epidemic" in California, once again the issue of appropriate hand sanitizers comes to the headlines.

 today reports on the continuously-increasing focus on the features/benefits of Non-Alcohol Hand Sanitizers vs. the legacy toxic and flammable alcohol-based products. Click on the title link for the full story!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer Camp, Hand Hygiene and Safe Sanitizers for the Hands

Proving once again that social media apps such as Twitter, Facebook and other 'channels' can create a well-spring of communication, we clap our hands in honor of UK-based Juliet Robertson, the founder of Creative Star Learning Co., who turned to us for info and suggestions about best  hand hygiene strategies and products than can be used by pre-schoolers attending outdoor learning centers and summer day camps where hand washing facilities are not easily accessible or available.

Juliet can be found on Twitter at this location

To: Juliet (and your 18,000 followers on Twitter)

1. Getting 'down and dirty' in the outdoors is, as you eloquently advocate on your website, a good thing for little tikes. It introduces them to the beauty of Mother Nature.

2. A little dirt on the hands is actually a good thing, all things being equal. Not all bacteria is bad, and presuming the environment in which the tikes are exploring isn't adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico, or other areas that have been invaded by pollutants or otherwise infested by pathogens that have been carried by man (or woman),  the concerns about what tikes are touching need to be put into proper perspective.

3. Obviously, one needs to be careful about touching certain types of plants/vegetation (poison ivy, poison oak, etc. etc.), but the good news is that certain non-alcohol hand sanitizer products that use benzalkonium chloride (a/k/a/ "BAC") as the active ingredient can prove to be an ideal treatment. In fact, this is the same ingredient found in the better poison ivy/poison oak ointments and lotions. Note: Using alcohol hand sanitizers to wash off oil from poison ivy does not work.

4. For the readers that have been misled into thinking that alcohol gels "clean" the hands, the responsible manufacturers of those toxic and flammable products will advise "wash hands before applying". This is because alcohol does not penetrate dirt, and therefore, has almost zero usefulness on skin that might be soiled with just about anything.

To answer your question i.e. particular products when there's no sink and faucet; many of the alcohol-free hand sanitizers that use BAC are water-based. Many are dispensed in foam format, others in a "spray" format. Regardless, its the water that "cleans" the dirt (or other particles) from the skin, and the antibacterial is what eradicates the bad bacteria. Note: BAC is the common ingredient in many first aid antiseptic products. It won't sting and, unlike alcohol gel, it won't present a risk of infection.

So, there's a 3-in-1 solution that solves the problem that alcohol hand sanitizer gels simply cannot touch. Pun intended.

That said, and as noted in the below white paper that you might find interesting, alcohol hand sanitizers in a camp/outdoor setting are useful to the extent that they can be used to help start the camp fire if you can't locate dry wood or twigs. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also useful for the counselors that have had a rough day; pour the alcohol gel into a cup, mix in two or three tablespoons of salt, stir gently for a few a minutes and then pour the liquid into your canteen. Bingo! You've just brewed yourself a libation!

Recommended safe, alcohol-free hand sanitizer products? Most of the BAC-based alcohol-free sanitizers are similar in formula. So, educated shoppers should be comparing not only prices, but the ingredients. We like the ones that don't have a fragrance, and don't use any dye or "color" additives; fragrances and dyes can pose allergy-related issues that nobody needs to encounter in the middle of the woods.

Responsible note: too much of anything is not a good idea, regardless of what you hear or read. That includes water! BAC-based products should not be poured into a humidifier, and should not be used to rinse the eyes. Beyond that, most of the products maintain concentration levels that are universally-accepted as being safe for the purposes of apply-on-hands antiseptic or antibacterial.


For carry size bottles, we're told that "Soapopular" is available in the UK and can be purchased online via the company's UK-based distributor. That product is also widely-available in the US and Canada, and US customers can buy online at www.SoapyUSA.com

Another, competitively priced 'brand' that is fragrance-free and dye free is Hy5. For camp operators, this product line includes portable dispensing stands that are low-cost, extremely durable and designed for rugged environments.

If not convenient to be putting a 2 oz or 3 oz bottle in a knapsack or pouch, non-alcohol hand wipes (again, using a quaternary ammonium compound such as BAC) are fine for kids. In fact, most baby wipes are non-alcohol (or they should be!)

For those that don't subscribe to the idea of using any type of hand sanitizers, even an alcohol-free product (which is fine, our perspective is that washing with a good soap and water is always the best approach), we'd caution against washing the hands in a local stream or pond that has not been deemed "safe drinking water".

No need to list all of the potential bad bacteria that can be easily encountered in water that we're not familiar with. Along the same lines, 'wiping the hands" with large leaves that might appear to be a natural paper towel is not necessarily a good idea either.


Hand Hygiene Lessons: Sanitizers for Schools and Summer Camps

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

#BP Clean Up Effort Includes Hand Hygiene Hazard

It seems that the folks at BP are not only confused about how to stop thousands of barrels of oil from gushing into the Gulf, they're equally confused when it comes to providing clean-up workers with proper hand hygiene products.

According to a local company contracted by BP to provide clean-up supplies, "They (BP) sent us an 18-wheeler filled with alcohol hand sanitizer, and those folks didn't know that alcohol gels don't "clean" hands, and in fact, they don't even penetrate dirt.

The executive from the local company continued to say "..The instructions on the alcohol sanitizer bottles say "wash hands before applying", something that makes no sense to us 'country-folk' down here when considering that workers in the field have no way to wash their hands!"

When it was pointed out that alcohol gels actually irritate the skin and as a result, increase the risk of exposure to bacteria, the executive stated, "That's why we told BP that the product they want us to use isn't going to work any better than the things they've tried to cap the well...So now we're replacing that stuff with an alcohol-free hand sanitizer; the water-based products used by the Navy and Coast Guard and clean the dirt off the skin, and kill the bacteria without killing the skin..."

Monday, June 7, 2010

iPads crawling with bacteria


It's enough to make a techie iGag.
Some of the sleek new iPads users play with at city Apple stores are laced with potentially dangerous bacteria or are just plain dirty, a Daily News investigation revealed.
Of four iPads that were swabbed in two stores last month and then tested in a lab, two contained harmful pathogens.
"Eww," said Brittany Smith, 20, of Canarsie, Brooklyn, after hearing the test results outside Apple's flagship store on Fifth Ave. "Now I need some hand sanitizer."
The News used medical swabs to covertly collect samples from two iPads in the midtown store and the Meatpacking District location on 14th St. They were then tested for culturable bacteria by the New Jersey-based EMSL Analytical Inc.
One sample, collected at the 14th St. store, contained Staphylococcus aureus, the most common cause of staph infections, which can lead to an array of ailments, from minor skin infection to meningitis.
"It can easily cause disease," said research analyst Farbo Nekouei, who evaluated the data for ESML. "It's not a good bacteria."
The second swab from that store only contained benign, skin-borne microbes, but in unusually high quantities, pointing to an extremely grimy iPad.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

H1N1 Swine Flu Lingers; Experts Say: "Expect regular fall/winter pattern.."

"What most people are expecting is that [the new H1N1 strain] will supplant the older H1N1 viruses that were the previous seasonal strains and become the seasonal H1N1 virus," explained Dr. John J. Treanor, professor of medicine and of microbiology and immunology at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. "The most likely scenario would be that we would continue to see the descendants of pandemic H1N1 causing seasonal outbreaks of flu, with probably normal timing," he said.

Click on the title link for the full article from Bloomberg Businessweek

Thursday, May 27, 2010

FDA Probes Purell's Johnson & Johnson; Hundreds of Complaints

As reported throughout the news media, the U.S. House of Representatives will be holding special hearings investigating J&J's recall of more than 40 nonprescription products, and upwards of 1000 complaints about health problems in infants and children given J&J medications.

Johnson & Johnson is the retail market license holder for Purell alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Neither J&J or the FDA would provide comment as to the total of number of complaints filed, or whether the above-noted complaints related to the Purell product.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

New season of swine flu could be coming

ABC News May 17

Hospitals brace for flu influx

".."We're concerned coming into winter with the reports from the Northern Hemisphere that the swine flu will almost certainly make its way back down.."

Associated Press - May 18, 2010 1:34 PM ET
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Alaska's last confirmed case of swine flu was six weeks ago, but public health officials expect it to return later this year.

Rochester, NY --- One year ago a new strain of flu was spreading and on its way to becoming a worldwide pandemic.  H1N1 is sure to return... but local health officials are optimistic that we're all better prepared for it after this past year

May 21 Birmingham Mail

World Cup swine flu warning 

MIDLAND health bosses have warned of new swine flu outbreaks as football fever sweeps the nation.Fans heading to the World Cup in South Africa are being advised to avoid the risk of picking up the virus abroad and bringing it back to the UK.

The Independent  Monday, 3 May 2010
"..Without doubt, fear of avian flu shaped the world's response to swine flu. Avian flu emerged more than a decade ago in the Far East and in 2004 began its march across the globe, infecting poultry flocks, wild birds and the occasional person as it went. With 495 people infected so far and 292 deaths, its 60 per cent death rate posed a serious threat. Swine flu has – mercifully – proved to be a kitten, not a tiger. Will it turn out to be the weakest pandemic in history? It is too early to say; it could yet return with a vengeance next winter. 


The Daily Telegraph Apr 22 2010
Swine flu will be back in the winter: scientists
The pandemic is not over and the H1N1 virus is likely to return in the winter when flu would normally be expected, scientists have said.


Suite 101 Mar 2010

Dynamic Swine Flu Threat Will Persist Through 2010, Experts Say

 Pratt Tribune May 12 2010

H1N1 Hasn't Gone Away

"...Many people consider the 2009 “swine flu” epidemic as another over-hyped, sky-is-falling media scare, Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, Kansas State Health Officer, acknowledged.
“That’s unfortunate,” he wrote in an opinion column, “because now is a good time to take stock of what we have learned about H1N1 flu in the past year, and start to prepare for the unpredictable — but inevitable — next chapter in humanity’s ongoing coexistence with this new virus.”

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hand Hygiene Innovators: Kudos to Canada's Cascades

MONTREAL - Paper products maker Cascades is looking for new commercial markets with its antibacterial paper towel aimed at cutting down the amount of bacteria spread by hand contact.
Cascades (TSX: CAS.TO) is launching what it calls an "intelligent" antibacterial paper towel that it says compensates for sloppy hand washing in pubic places and business.

The green-coloured paper towel has an antibacterial ingredient that lasts for 30 minutes after hand drying, the Quebec-based company said Tuesday. Cascades said it has added antibacterial ingredient benzalkonium chloride, used in hand and face washes, to the paper towel. It maintains the ingredient reduces the amount of bacteria left on hands after drying and protects them from "subsequent bacterial contamination."

The product is targeted at the food-processing and restaurant sectors, medical clinics, schools and daycares, it said.

"This innovation responds to a need for improved hand hygiene that is frequently cited by public health experts in recent years," said president and CEO Alain Lemaire.

It's not destined for grocery stores at this time and is only for the Canadian market until the company gets approval to market it in the United States and Europe.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hand Sanitizer War Heats Up: WHO, CDC and Competitive Agendas

With the focus on hand hygiene continuing to remain a forefront issue, and competition between hand sanitizer makers remaining fierce, interesting to make note of a comment made yesterday in a CDC teleconference call in advance of WHO Summit by Katherine Ellingson, a CDC epidemiologist.

In acknowledging professional HCW's rapidly-growing acceptance of non-alcohol hand sanitizer products, Dr. Ellingson, whose research has been supported courtesy of financial grants provided (ironically?) by GOJO Industries, the largest maker of alcohol hand sanitizer products), Ellingson commented that "alcohol remains the preferred product by staff at CDC" [with a twist of lemon??), and that "some makers of non-alcohol-based products were aggressive in marketing their products as effective against the pandemic flu virus (HIN1).." Ellingson referenced warning letters issued against them by the FDA.

We've seen a variety of independent laboratory tests from a variety of manufacturers that use quaternary ammonium elements as the active ingredient in their products. The majority of those test results are consistent, and otherwise indicate that benzalkonium chloride, and/or related compounds, which are used by the majority of non-alcohol hand sanitizer makers, provide similar, and most often better results when compared to legacy alcohol-based products.

As posted here in the past, and despite the fact that most manufacturers have successfully performed lab tests against individual pathogens, the FDA prohibits makers of hand sanitizer products from making pathogen kill claims within their advertising, a policy confirmed by FDA enforcement staff members. According to the FDA, this policy is not limited to advertising efficacy claims re: HINI, but extends to any particular pathogen.

That said, we certainly appreciate and respect the FDA policies re: advertising. We're also familiar with select manufacturers that had inadvertently over-looked FDA advertising guidelines, were since advised by FDA of those errors, and those manufacturers subsequently made immediate corrections to their advertising.

We only wonder why FDA has proven highly-selective in enforcing those rules (only a handful of makers have been cited in the past year), and why FDA continues to allow many other companies to continue to advertise pathogen-specific efficacy claims and flaunt FDA enforcement staff.

If a company is making unsolicited claims, whether it be in connection with H1N1, Clostridium Difficile (c.diff), MRSA, Hepatitis, or other pathogens, they are in clear violation of FDA enforcement rules; FDA does provide for manufacturers to offer these efficacy studies /claims upon request.

This isn't to suggest the products in question are not effective. In fact, most experts that have researched the topic would argue that BZK-based products are actually the smartest choice, if the only other choice were alcohol. It is to suggest however, that if a particular company is irresponsible in its regulatory compliance, it begets the question as to what other compliance issues they are overlooking.

Regrettably, some companies are being so bold as to not only challenge direct competitors by presenting misleading and wholly-inaccurate product comparison "efficacy data", but at the same time, they're distributing material that is clearly in violation of FDA rules.

A perfect example of a company that we cannot endorse is "SafeHands Inc." which is blatantly violating FDA guidelines, and by doing so, they risk besmirching the integrity of responsible manufacturers within the industry.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hand Hygiene Noncompliance and the Cost of Hospital-Acquired MRSA Infection

A new study shows that even minimal improvements in hand hygiene compliance is associated with significant and substantial savings in hospital costs.

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center (Durham, NC, USA) found:

A 200-bed hospital incurs a total of $1,779,283 in annual MRSA infection-related expenses that are directly attributable to hand hygiene noncompliance. According to the researchers, a mere 1% increase in hand hygiene compliance would result in annual savings of $39,650; an increase in hand hygiene adherence by 5% would result in a mean decrease in expected MRSA-related costs of $198,250. The study was published in the April 2010 issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

“Many other pathogens are also spread to patients on the hands of healthcare workers as a result of noncompliance with hand hygiene. In fact, in some reports MRSA accounts for fewer than 8% of all hospital-acquired infections,” concluded lead author Keith Cummings, M.D., and colleagues of the department of medicine. “Because our model focused on costs associated only with MRSA transmission, it substantially underestimated the costs associated with hand hygiene noncompliance.”

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Georgia Poison Control Center Reports 20% Increase in Alcohol-Hand Sanitizer Ingestion

Georgia Poison Control Center says "2-3 reports every day of kids licking alcohol-based hand sanitizer off of their hands.."
Click on the title link for full story from CBS News Reporter Stephany Fisher.

Lit can of hand sanitizer causes minor explosion in North Fargo

Yes, we've all heard a variety of interesting stories coming out of Fargo, North Dakota...but merely a reminder for those that didn't realize that alcohol-based hand sanitizers are flammable.  Anyone from TSA paying attention??

Click on the title link for the story.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

FDA Prompted to Review Safety of Triclosan in range of consumer produts..including hand soaps/hand sanitizers

This is the extract from late-breaking news courtesy of Reuters. (full story by clicking on title link)

Important to note that more than one year ago, this blog profiled the questionable use of Triclosan as the active ingredient within select hand sanitizer products (including P&G's Vick's brand)...and pointed out that the majority of alcohol-free hand sanitizer products incorporate benzalkonium chloride, considered to be one of the safest organic compounds.
 
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday it was reviewing the safety of triclosan, a widely used antibacterial agent found in soap, toothpaste and a range of other consumer products.

One member of Congress, Massachusetts Democrat Edward Markey, called for strict limits.
"Despite the fact that this chemical is found in everything from soaps to socks, there are many troubling questions about triclosan's effectiveness and potentially harmful effects, especially for children," Markey said in a statement.

"I call upon the federal government to ban the use of triclosan in consumer soaps and hand-washes, products intended for use by children, and products intended to come into contact with food. In addition, I will soon introduce legislation to speed up the government's efforts to evaluate and regulate other substances that may pose similar public health concerns."

H1N1 Spread Linked to Seasonal Flu Shots

Four new studies conducted by Canadian researchers conclude that the traditional seasonal flu vaccine seems to have boosted the risk of infection with pandemic H1N1 swine flu by almost double.

In one study, the researchers revealed to use ongoing sentinel monitoring system in order to assess the frequency of prior vaccination with the seasonal flu vaccine in people suffering from H1N1 swine flu in 2009 compared to people without swine flu.

The study discovered that seasonal flu vaccination was linked with a 68 percent boosted risk of falling in prey to swine flu.


The Canadian sentinel study showed that receipt of TIV in the previous season (autumn 2008) appeared to increase the risk of pH1N1 illness by 1.03- to 2.74-fold, even after adjustment for comorbidities, age, and geography

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New Study Raises Questions About Alcohol Foam Hand Sanitizers' Antimicrobial Efficacy in a Practical Clinical Setting

Excerpts below from March 30 news release published by one of the largest distributors of alcohol-based hand sanitizer products..

"...The way 62 percent ethanol foam hand sanitizers are used in a practical clinical setting most likely means they do not provide any more bacterial reduction than simply washing with the same quantity of water alone, says a new study presented at the Fifth Decennial International Conference on HAIs. The study results confirm preliminary data first presented by lead author Dr. Günter Kampf at Medline Industries, Inc.'s Prevention Above All conference late last year.

The study, "Efficacy of ethanol-based hand foams using clinically relevant amounts: a cross-over controlled study among healthy volunteers," was performed according to the EN1500 standards and found that the applied volume of 62 percent alcohol foam healthcare workers used so that their hands would dry in 30 seconds was small -- only 1.6 grams. Compared to published data, even a simple hand wash using 1.6 grams of water alone has similar or better antimicrobial efficacy than the same amount of 62 percent alcohol foam sanitizer. Furthermore, to reach desirable bactericidal levels would require approximately twice the practical amount of product, extending evaporation times upward of 90 to 120 seconds per application -- something that is not practical in a clinical setting given the patient care responsibilities healthcare workers face on a daily basis.

"The data suggests we have a false sense of security with regard to the level of bacterial reduction provided when using 62 percent foam hand sanitizers," said Kampf, who is a member of the German Association for Infection Control and a lecturer at the Ernst Moritz University in Germany.

"While 62 percent foam sanitizers are not entirely ineffective, it is incumbent upon us to educate regarding proper technique," commented Lessem. "If proper application technique is unattainable due to the practical considerations of the healthcare worker's daily job responsibilities, then other product options should be considered...."

The last excerpt in bold/italics was necessarily "striking." Dr. Kampf, a highly-published expert on the topic of hand hygiene, is otherwise pointing to facts that are widely-acknowledged--but are often overlooked by HCW's simply because most are at the mercy of administrators that are influenced not by facts, but by sales people representing alcohol-based hand sanitizer manufacturers, as well as one-sided "recommendations" provided by government agencies that are in turn, influenced by lobbyists representing the same manufacturers.

Equally interesting: the above-note study was distributed via a media release by Medline Industries--which is arguably one of the country's larger distributors of alcohol-based hand sanitizer products. Suggesting to some that their commitment to alcohol-based hand sanitizer is starting to wane.


Here are basic facts, supported by more than a handful of truly independent studies:


1. Repeated use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer products reduces alcohol's effectiveness with respect to killing germs/bacteria
On the other hand, numerous studies that have compared residual efficacy of alcohol-based products to quaternary ammonium-based products  have found that quats' efficacy increases with repeated application.

2. Repeated use of alcohol-based sanitizers increases the risk of exposure of pathogens, simply because alcohol causes the skin to become dry/irritated. Dry/irritated skin is akin to a cracked windshield; the pesky pathogens slip through the cracks as easily as tiny bugs can squeeze into the cracked windshield.

3. Quat-based hand sanitizer products have proven to be equally effective against a broad spectrum of pathogens (based on log rate), yet these products are safer to the skin, provided residual protection, and because they are water-based, these products break through any dirty on the hands, and delivery optimal antiseptic and antibacterial benefits. 

Unlike alcohol-based products, the quat-based, non-alcohol formulas (those that use benzalkonium chloride or benzethonium chloride) do not require rinsing before or after application, and they won't destroy anything other than the pathogens (alcohol-based products are notorious for destroying industrial floor wax, paint, and materials).