Imagine with me, if you will, a pre-Covid world?
You know, when hand-washing was just something we routinely did. And, hand sanitizer was mainly just a fragrant fashion accessory hanging off the backpacks of teenage girls.
Gone are those days.
More than just a fashion statement, sanitizer especially, seems to be a matter of life and death.
Not using it could make you (or grandma) more susceptible to sickness, right?
Or…do we need to rephrase that statement?
With what we’re learning regarding what’s in these now abundantly-made sanitizers, could using them actually make you sick?
Toxins In Hand Sanitizers
At the first mention of this pandemic having breached America’s doorways, grocery shelves emptied almost instantly of anything that could possibly ward off the virus.
From soaps, to sprays, to wipes, to bleach, to sanitizers…to toilet paper…um, yeah, we still can’t figure that one out. But, you get the picture, the shelves quickly became bare.
So, with the demand for such items, namely hand sanitizers, having instantly grown to such extremes, many manufacturers rose to this demand-ridden occasion.
The FDA temporarily relaxed standards on these alcohol-based products to provide ease for the influx of multiple new manufacturers in light of this overwhelming need.
But, as both foreign and domestic companies have been working tirelessly to deliver, the corners that have been cut are leading to even more health concerns for consumers.
In other words, all sanitizers are not created equal. And, some are truly toxic.
In fact, at nearly 150 items, the FDA’s “do not use” list of sanitizers they deem harmful seems to be growing at an alarming rate.
The following toxic substances have been identified by the FDA in some recently manufactured hand sanitizers:
Methanol: In June, the FDA warned of methanol contamination in various hand sanitizers. This is considered a wood alcohol and is toxic when absorbed through the skin.
When large amounts are used on the skin, methanol can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and headaches.
If ingested, nervous system damage, blindness, seizures, and even death can result.
1-Propanol: Recently, the FDA alerted the public to the fact that some hand sanitizers are now containing a toxin called 1-propanol. The products in question were labeled as containing ethanol or isopropyl alcohol, but tested positive for this toxin instead.
Poisoning from this toxin can cause depression of the central nervous system.
Since your nervous system is responsible for communicating needed bodily processes back and forth to your brain, depressing or weakening this system can cause disruptions to these processes.
This can be evidenced in lowered heart rate, slowed breathing, confusion, and decreased or lost consciousness.
Ingesting sanitizers containing 1-propanol can be fatal.
What If I’m Exposed To A Toxic Sanitizer?
In case of exposure: If you have used sanitizers that contain methanol or 1-propanol and are experiencing any of the adverse symptoms associated with exposure to these toxins, the FDA recommends that you seek medical treatment immediately.
What to do if you have these contaminated products: If you have any of the products on the FDA’s list of harmful sanitizers, it is recommended that you dispose of those, preferably in a hazardous waste container.
But, obviously not all sanitizers have been deemed unsafe. There are still many acceptable options available.
So, when you are using sanitizers or washing your hands, consider the following:
First and foremost, if you are able to, go old school.
Washing your hands with soap and water will always be the best practice (pandemic or not) to both remove germs and preserve the good, needful bacteria on your skin.
Also, hand sanitizers just won’t cut it if:
- your hands are visibly dirty
- you know you’ve touched some kind of chemical
- you have come in contact with raw meat
- you have used the restroom or helped someone else use the restroom (changing diapers, etc)
In such instances, you should always wash your hands with a non-toxic soap.
You can get up to 4 refills of our favorite non-toxic hand soap for FREE through this link.
The CDC recommends washing with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
According to some studies, quick applications of ethanol hand sanitizers won’t actually kill cold and flu type viruses.
If you are going to use hand sanitizers when hand washing is not available or convenient, consider the following recommendations by the CDC:
- should contain at least 60% ethanol (ethyl alcohol)
- rub the sanitizer into your hands for at least 30 seconds
- rub over the surface of your hands and fingers until dry
Be sure to check out the list of sanitizers deemed unsafe by the FDA to ensure you aren’t using a toxin-laden product.
The list begins at the bottom of the page.
And, one final thought for those that may be wondering if they could indeed be sanitizing too much…
Sanitizers And Your Immune System
Just a few things to consider here…
Being clean, being hygienic, those are good things. In fact, they’re important to your health. But, is there a line to be drawn there too?
Perhaps you’ve heard the motto, “everything in moderation.”
There’s no doubt that precautions should be taken to facilitate health amidst these uncertain times, but going overboard may not actually be facilitating health at all.
In fact, research shows that we need to encounter germs.
Essentially your immune system works like an athlete. And, what athlete do you know who doesn’t train or undergo conditioning to perform at their best?
Your immune system goes through conditioning and “training” by encountering germs as you go about your day. It is strengthened as it fights off these germs in small doses.
If you block off any and all exposure to germs due to going overboard in sanitizing every last thing you touch or could ever possibly touch, then basically you’re denying training time for your immune system.
I’m not saying to lick doorknobs in public…or at home, ew!
And, I’m not saying to live in filth…also ew!
I’m not saying to never use sanitizer.
And, I’m not saying to never wash your hands.
Based on the serious need lately for precautions around viral infections, it’s even more important than ever to be careful with hygiene.
Washing Your Hands
You definitely NEED to be washing your hands.
“According to the CDC, World Health Org and countless Medical Institutions you only need to wash your hands for a minimum of twenty seconds to keep viruses away!”
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Happy Lathering 🙂