Ever since COVID-19 hit our shores, hand sanitizer stations are everywhere, at every turn we are slathering on a product to kill viruses and elevate our sense of safety.
The unprecedented run on hand sanitizer meant empty shelves and a simple product becoming a hot commodity. With the demand on hand sanitizers, many new brands popped up from unregulated sources, containing methanol, a wood burning alcohol.
According to the FDA, methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizer and is highly poisonous. Exposure may result in nausea, vomiting, blurred vision or even permanent neurological damage or death.
The Microbiome in Danger
So you think avoiding methanol is the only danger with hand sanitizer?
Not so fast!
Most commercially made hand sanitizers are made of a plethora of toxic ingredients which could be doing harm to the microbiome , which is the millions of bacteria residing on our skin and in the digestive system.
Invisible to the human eye, our very existence and well being is determined by the balance and health of our bacterial colonies, and the microbiome is easily wiped out by excessive use of hand sanitizers, and may in fact, produce stronger, drug resistant harmful bacteria.
Toxic Hand Sanitizer Ingredients
These are the ingredients in hand sanitizers to be aware of:
Alcohol: The base of most commercially available hand sanitizers is some type of alcohol, usually a base of 60% to 80% ethyl alcohol (ethanol) or isopropyl alcohol.
Triclosan: The FDA has re-evaluated their stance on triclosan, a hormone disrupting chemical, previously commonly found in hand sanitizer and personal care products such as toothpaste.
Fragrances and Phthalates : These two usually go hand in hand, phthalates are a group of chemicals that help artificial fragrances perform effectively. Multiple studies show these as toxic allergens and hormone disruptors with carcinogenic properties.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate : These products are emulsifiers responsible for the foam in soaps, with detrimental side effects.
While many of these sanitizers still contain ethyl alcohol in their formulas, they are free of harmful triclosan, fragrances, phthalates and sodium lauryl sulfate.
Here’s a few of my top picks!
Hand sanitizer might be the best option in certain settings, it turns out good old soap and water is really the way to go!
So go easy on the hand sanitizer, choose a healthier option, and wash your hands when possible!