Silver and Gold Magazine Summer 2020 - Page 19

HAND SANITIZER: BAD LONG TERM? Hand hygiene has never been more important than now: It is recommended to wash hands at least 6 times per day if strictly staying at home – more so, of course, when leaving the home. What is all this hand sanitizer use doing to us long-term? Government bodies such as the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA) and the NHS (National Health Service, UK) recommend washing hands with soap and water whenever possible, and using hand sanitizer only as a second choice, when sanitizing with soap and water are not possible. Hand hygiene has become a major part of our response to the current pandemic, and one of the proposed solutions against viruses in general. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, on the other hand, are a quick solution to reduce the number of microbes on hands, but they do not eliminate all types of germs* – mainly because people may not use enough sanitizer to make them effective, or may even wipe it off before it has fully dried and had its chance to work its magic. The below video effectively explains how soap kills coronaviruses. (Click to WATCH) Research has shown that the overuse of hand sanitizer products may increase bacterial resistance to antibiotics in some bacteria, and that ultra-clean environments and the persistent use of antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers may inhibit proper immune system development in children. In another study performed by the University of Missouri, researchers found that using hand sanitizer before touching anything containing a high amount of BPA (Bisphenol A, a chemical used in the making of some plastics and even on thermal receipt paper) can increase the amount of BPA absorbed through your skin by “up to a hundred-fold.” These studies further show that a thin layer of BPA will remain on your skin, absorbing it over time and disrupting the endocrine system (a series of glands that produce and secrete hormones that the body uses for a wide range of functions). Bottom line: You may continue to use hand sanitizers as a last-resort, or when water and soap are not readily available, but use sparingly. Regular soap and water continue to be the best defence against viruses… and for goodness sakes, retrain yourself NOT to touch your face! • Silver & Gold Magazine ~ SUMMER 2020 19