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Overuse of Hand Sanitizer Worse Than Dirty Hands

Posted on August 14, 2014
by Wendy Stackhouse

Hand sanitizer

There are bottles of hand sanitizer in every classroom. Not only that, but 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.

Hand sanitizers are “germicidal products contain both fragrance and ingredients which are registered pesticides.” That doesn’t sound good. American Chronicle

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.

When should you wash your hands?

From the Centers for Disease Control:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After touching garbage

Isn’t hand sanitizer just as good as soap and water?

Simply put, no it is not. Hand sanitizer does not kill all germs and it does no good at all for dirty or greasy hands.

Stopping the spread of bacteria and viruses is important at school and elsewhere and hand washing should be an essential part of everyone’s routine, not just after using the restroom, but throughout the day. Hand sanitizers are a good option–when necessary, but they do bring their own risks. If you have access to soap and water, use it!

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 environmental challenges. Check out our new website!

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