Hand Sanitizers - Friend or foe?
Once used primarily in hospitals as a means to keep patients from developing any bacterial or septic infections while staying there, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are now a household name. People normally put it in their top 10 things that they keep in their bag.
However, a simple search on Google for the dangers of hand sanitizers will pull up a whole host of articles citing various reasons as to why hand sanitizers may be doing more harm than good. Some articles even show that they have proven ill effects, including causing dermatitis.
So what's the deal -
Are they really as effective as they claim to be? or are they just great marketing from large multinationals feeding into our own paranoid germophobia?
Most people tend to agree that alcohol-based sanitizers are quite effective. In fact, they are the No.2 recommended way to clean your clean our hands after washing with soap and water. All companies advertise that their sanitizers remove upto 99.9% bacteria - but can they be, in fact, too effective? You may be used to having your hands feel dry after using some sanitizer - but did you know that all the evaporating alcohol strips the skins of oils, and prolonged use can even cause dermatitis? Is its efficacy really worth the side effects?
The main ingredient in anti-bacterial hand sanitizers,
Triclosan, has actually been shown to increase bacterial resistance over time, and even lower your resistance to diseases by removing beneficial bacteria.It has also been implicated in compromising immune systems making people more susceptible allergies & particularly the toxic effects of BPA.
BPA is a known disruptor of the endocrine system & can cause hormone disorders, cancer, heart disease, infertility and even diabetes.
Smell you later
We all love the smell of freshly-sanitized hands, often smelling like fresh fruit or baked goods reminiscent of the holiday season, but do we really know what those scents are made of? Companies are not required to disclose what their "secret scents" contain which often means a whole lot of toxic chemicals such as phthalates - which are also known endocrine disruptors. Doesn't smell so good now, does it?
Keep away from children
Most parents use sanitizers fairly liberally when it comes to their kids, but off late there have been a string of incidents involving kids ingesting it, both intentionally and unintentionally - leading to dire consequences. So in keeping kids in mind, some companies have developed Alcohol-free sanitizers that removes the potential for harm, both intentional & unintentional. It seems like a better choice - but often those sanitizers are laden with parabens to increase the shelf life, and parabens come with their own host of problems.
Parabens have been the topic of some debate, with some people claiming that it can disrupt hormones and even go as far as saying it may cause cancer. Official organizations have cited that there is no direct evidence of any harm caused by them. But official organizations have a bad habit of changing their story when the evidence changes - so I don't know about you but I'd rather not take my chances.
So what's the verdict?
As the case seems to be with most things, sanitizers are good in moderation. It can be a boon in emergency situations - but overusing it can cause a lot more harm than good in the long term. Luckily, we here at TreeWear have found natures answer to hand sanitizer - with our Cleansing Hand Lotion, the perfect balance of natural fragrance & function.It's 100% Alcohol & Paraben-free, made using the well-documented anti-septic & anti-bacterial properties of essential oils, & we plant a tree for each set we sell.
Check them out here & here!
What do you think about our hand sanitizers, let us know in the comments section below.