I wrote a post about why we should stop using antibacterial hand sanitizers and hand soaps. Of course, this was pre-COVID and so when the CDC recommended that everyone use hand sanitizers during COVID and that my kids would be required to use them during school hours, I did extra research. Here’s a continuation of further research on hand sanitizers and in context with COVID-19.
If you didn’t read the first blog post, I suggest you read it first here.
We have been told by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to wash our hands to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus. Good advice. Washing hands for at least 20 seconds with quality soaps not only kills and stops viral infections, it helps remove the leftover viruses left on our hands when rinsing off. But when we don’t have access to soap, the recommendation to use hand sanitizer is questionable.
Hand sanitizers may kill surface level bacteria but if its locked away in mucus or dirt or grease, then the hand sanitizer will not get to it. How many of us cough or sneeze in our hands and then use hand sanitizer?
Sorry, the mucus will make the sanitizer ineffective.
If your hand sanitizer has Triclosan (disinfectant that kills 99% of microbes), bacteria and other microorganisms get resistant to it and then get stronger against other antibiotics. This is what causes antibiotic resistance and superbugs.
Never use sanitizers, personal care and toothpaste with Triclosan. It’s already the number one chemical in our water.
Triclosan also can allow BPA (plastics, receipts) to be better absorbed through the skin. When BPA gets into our body, it adversely affects our hormones by working as a synthetic estrogen that our body cannot process (read: heart disease, weight gain, mental issues, infertility).
Yes, triclosan + BPA becomes a very high risk endocrine disruptor and estrogen-mimicking toxin.
While receipts have been found to be a major source of skin exposure to BPA, it is also found in other types of paper. In one study, concentrations of BPA were determined in 15 types of paper products — 99% in receipts, 81% in other paper products. (e.g,, boarding passes, napkins, toilet paper). You can read more here.
And if you think it’s a little amount, studies show the absorption of BPA after use of hand sanitizers is 100X. One hundred times more.
Let’s think about that. I’ll help put it in context. We use sanitizers to wipe down our shopping carts and then touch cash receipts from the market. 100 TIMES MORE BPA absorption.
We also see these sanitizer chemicals in our stomach and because sanitizers can kill some bacteria, it kills the bacteria in our gut. Every time you use sanitizer, you are killing your gut microbiome more and more.
As I wrote in my original hand sanitizer post, in 2016, USDA finally banned many antibacterial soap additives for some of these very reasons.
Oh and did you know that there is a proper way to use hand sanitizers, otherwise they are ineffective?
Per the CDC: “Alcohol-based hand sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.” CDC should mention:
1️⃣ hand sanitizers MUST have hands that are fully wet (read: doused in hand sanitizer) (at least 3 mL which is multiple pumps—yes, one pump is insufficient)
2️⃣ for at least 30 seconds,
3️⃣ at least 60% alcohol but <95% alcohol
4️⃣ and hands MUST be dried by air to EVEN BE effective.
So what happens if you don’t follow rules 1-4?
You’re essentially just spreading the germs around.
Now, how many of us, and especially our children, use hand sanitizers this way?
Sanitizers are ineffective when hands have dirt or grease. Parks, stores, before/after eating. When is this ever not the case?
Ethanol-based sanitizers break down our skin barrier because alcohol strips proteins and lipids, resulting in irritation and dryness. Cracking of skin causes MORE susceptibility to pathogens — the very thing we’re trying to stop with sanitizers.
Swallowing sanitizers can cause alcohol poisoning. In 2011–2015, CDC received over 85K calls about hand sanitizers and kids. How often do we use sanitizers on kids after play to eat their lunch?
Benzalkonium Chloride’s main role is to dissolve outer coverings of bacterial cells. But it’s just as bad on our cells and microbes, increasing irritation within the mucosal lining and aggravating allergies.
In a Science Daily study, a child’s immunity was seriously affected by the use of hand sanitizers. They found MORE kids were falling ill due to preventable diseases after long term use of sanitizers.
The study looked for inflammation (testing for hsCRP — a blood draw inflammatory marker test that also is a risk for cardiovascular disease) and found very clean environments during early stages of a child’s life LOWERS immunity to a level that the body’s defense mechanism was in constant fighting mode — leading to weakened immunity and vulnerability to disease as adults.
The CDC recommends washing hands once we do have access to soap & water — even if we’ve used sanitizers. The use of sanitizers is convenient but HIGHLY ineffective. Maybe if we didn’t have sanitizers, we would find soap and water as soon as possible, which is effective. ⠀
Nutrition with Judy TIP:
Stick to simple, unscented soap. Use the EWG’s Healthy Living App and see what soaps are the least toxic. We use Dove’s sensitive skin soap. (rated a 2 out of 10, 10 being most toxic).
Even the FDA is coming out with frequent updates as to which sanitizers we should never use. Buyer beware.
Make soap convenient. Carry around a water bottle and soap in a bag until COVID-19 passes. We need the strongest immunity and if the overuse of sanitizers — and the risk of incorrectly using them spread bacteria and potentially damage our immune system, why use them?
Regulating bodies want to do what’s best for society but sometimes they are wrong. We don’t want to blindly follow authority — it’s what got us sick in the first place. See the World Health Organization’s recommendation for diet during COVID-19 as an example.
While some of the WHO’s recommendations are sound, like extended breastfeeding, some are dead wrong. Grains? I’ll do a separate post on their dietary recommendation but no grains, especially for our growing children.
Be your own advocate. No one cares for your health as much as you do. I am here to support you to get back to optimal health. Until next time, make sure to eat a lot of meat and take care of your bodies — because it is the only place you have to live. ♥️
Education is the most powerful weapon which can use to change the world. — Nelson Mandela