Chances are if you have ever traveled, worked in healthcare or have a child you have used hand sanitiser. And whilst we have good intentions for using this convenient little product by reducing the spread of germs and disease, hand sanitisers can actually being doing our health more harm than good.
Many people are unaware of the high alcohol content with most hand sanitisers consisting of 60-90% alcohol. The National Poison Data System (NPDS) conducted a study from 2011-2014 which showed that adverse health effects were far more likely, and more severe for formulations that include alcohol than those without. With the most common types of reported side-effects being irritation of the eyes and mouth, vomiting, conjunctivitis, abdominal pain and persistent cough. Rarely reported side effects were more severe and included coma, seizure, low blood sugar, metabolic acidosis, and decreased respiratory function. (3) Other reported common side effects of regular hand sanitiser use include:
Regular use of hand sanitisers can cause skin sensitivity including itching, burning, dry and flaky skin due to the high amounts of alcohol used in the formulations. These symptoms can increase to include redness, dryness and even peeling of skin, especially if hand sanitisers are used too often. With this in mind it is recommended that areas of the body that should be avoided are eyes, ears, mouth, nose and genital areas. This is especially important when it comes to baby’s and young children due the sensitivity of their skin.
Alcohol & Children
There has been growing concern about the use of high alcohol hand sanitiser formulations and children and possible consumption due ot the enticing scent including vanilla, apple and citrus.
Many hand sanitisers contain the chemical Triclosan which acts as a disinfectant, preservative and antiseptic. There was concern that widespread use of tricolsan has lead to the emergence and proliferation of harmful bacteria labelled as super-bugs that are resistant to antibiotics (1) . This creates a significant community wide danger and especially in populations including the elderly, baby’s and young children and immunosuppressed adults.
Triclosan has not only been linked to antibiotic resistance but also to hormone disruption that can have a devastating effect on reproduction and development due to negative effects on thyroid and oestrogen levels (2) Thankfully the European Commission banned tricolsan from cosmetics including hand sanitizers in the EU in 2014, however it is still important to be aware of other products containing this harmful chemical including hand sanitisers that are purchased from outside the region.
If you love the convenience of a hand sanitizer but aren’t loving the sound of all of the above side-effects then we recommend trying the Cedar + Stone Antibacterial Hand Sanitiser. It is alcohol-free, triclosan-free and lab tested to kill 99.9% of germs. Made in Australia, 100% plant-based, vegan, cruelty-free and gluten-free. The perfect must-have to protect you and your family from life's little germs.