How does hand sanitizer gel harm my child and me?
Posted on: August 28, 2015. Comments ( 12 )

Author: Chandrasekar B, parent of PSBB, Chennai

I recently happened to read about the negative effects of hand sanitizer gels and how its so-called “benefits” are NOT what we actually believe them to be. I therefore felt I must share these details with our readers through this article.

Firstly and ironically, hand sanitizer gels kill beneficial “good” bacteria present in the hands and actually weakens the body’s defense against diseases!!!

Hand sanitizer gels are alcohol-based products. Though alcohol kills germs, it is a skin irritant that interferes with the skin’s natural oil production and causes dry, flaky skin. The dryness of skin caused by avid use of hand sanitizer gels makes it prone to wrinkles and consequently appears to have aged rapidly.

While certain hand sanitizer gels are non-alcoholic, they may contain benzalkonium chloride (BC)—a sensitizer which even the FDA has not been able to prove safe—that is especially dangerous to children and people with asthma or skin conditions such as eczema. Ingestion of BC causes abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, burning sensation, diarrhea, shock or collapse.

Triclosan, another harmful substance, is the main antibacterial agent in non-alcoholic hand sanitizer gels. Triclosan can alter the endocrine system—enhancing the body’s testosterone production—and further induces risk of cancer, allergies, infertility and muscle weakness. Bacteria, when exposed either to triclosan or quaternary ammonium, can acquire multi-drug resistance (MDR) becoming antibiotic-resistant “superbugs”. Furthermore, Triclosan does not protect against viruses or fungi. And the bad news is that colds are caused by viruses not bacteria.

Hand sanitizer gels can enhance the absorption of Bisphenol A (BPA) by the body while adversely interferes with the body’s endocrine system. Synthetic fragrances used in hand sanitizer gels, such as phthalates, causes abnormalities in the body’s production of hormones.

I can’t help using hand sanitizer gels if I can’t wash my hands. Is there good news, at least?

Well, there is the lesser of two evils, so to speak—alcoholic over non-alcoholic hand sanitizer gels. If you don’t have soap-and-water at disposal, a squirt of 60% alcoholic hand sanitizer gel is okay—just don’t prefer the non-alcoholic ones.

Washing with soap-and-water is both safe and effective. There is even an interesting phrase for it—”to suds up”. And there is a procedure to follow to suds up: According to experts, wash your hands with soap for 24 seconds to effectively remove bacteria and viruses. Most people don’t wash their hands properly. Cover all parts of your hands with suds, including under your nails—and then dry your hands well, say experts.


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Comments (12)


    Dinesh Gangdas Gothi says:

    Thanks to give such helpful information

    Rekha K S says:

    Thanks a lot, Iam going to totally avoid hand sanitizer.

    Arumugam says:

    Thanks a lot for this useful information

    Arun says:

    Hi Chandrasekar, Thanks for sharing the useful information.


    Sayed Mariyam Khalid says:

    Thanks for the information

    Vaishali Sharad Shinde says:

    really good information

    Sowmya R. says:

    Thanks for the info. Going forward will prefer using soap water. Sanitizers were convenient though.

    Beenasadhan says:

    Thanks for this writeup. It was used as a tool to convince my kids who always insist on hand santizer, to be used in school. I have not allowed them to use santizer till date. Now, this message has added up to justify my stand, which my children has accepted, whole heartedly.

    Hope, they in turn, will pass on this message in their school also.

    Nandkumar Rajaram Mohite says:

    Its comparision, good one…

    Shyamala says:

    This is a very good information

    S. Navamani says:

    That’s a very good insight and information.

    Pradha says:

    This is really good one…

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