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Hand Sanitizer and Air Quality

Posted on August 28, 2012
by Wendy Stackhouse


We’ve been having a great discussion on LinkedIn in the Environmental Information Association Group this last week about my blog post on Improving the Indoor Air at School (Part 1 for Teachers, Part 2 for Parents) and a topic I hadn’t thought about came up: hand sanitizer.

Not only do you find bottles of hand sanitizer in every classroom these days, teachers are asking for families to donate more so that everyone can keep their hands clean and minimize the spread of germs, which is a noble cause. But they may be doing more harm than good.

An article in American Chronicle authored by Lourdes Salvador reported that hand sanitizers are “germicidal products contain both fragrance and ingredients which are registered pesticides.” That doesn’t sound good.

According to Physicians for Social Responsibility hand sanitizers “contain chemicals which are recognized as respiratory and/or neurological irritants, known to cause coughing and headaches, and to trigger asthma attacks.” Not good, either.

At AirTek, we would be the last to minimize the danger of the spread of disease, whether from contaminated ventilation systems or germs passing from person to person. We do, however, have concerns about chemical contaminants that can be avoided. Hand sanitizers are a great solution for an outdoor venue without running water, like a petting zoo or fairgrounds. But indoors your best bet for clean hands AND clean air is good old (fragrance free) soap and water!

If you would like to join the discussion, please join our open LinkedIn Group!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek and our parent company, Alliance Environmental Group, which offers residential and commercial cleaning, pest control, demolition, structural pasteurization and many other enviromental challenges. Check out our new website!

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