Impact of Antibacterial Hand Sanitizers on Health

Impact of Antibacterial Hand Sanitizers on Health

Impacts of Antibacterial Sanitizers

Hand Sanitizers are a common FMCG product in our daily lives. They are frequently used to wash hands as a cleansing agent. Non-alcoholic sanitizers have Triclosan as an active ingredient that prevents the growth of bacteria.

Since hand sanitizers are antibacterial cleaning products, that doesn’t mean they don’t have any side-effects. Researchers have shown that they have several health risks associated. Check below to have a bird eye’s view.

Antimicrobial Cleaning Products:

Antimicrobial cleaning products are daily use cleansing agents. Apart from hand sanitizer they include soaps and detergents, hand lotions, disinfectants, window cleaners, cleaning clothes, surface sprays, mouthwashes, toothpaste, pesticides, textiles and carpets underlay. Antibacterial soaps have become an alternative to cleaning hands with soap and water. They are usually available in liquid, gel or foam form. Antibacterial body washes have alcohol contents in huge proportions as an active ingredient that make it antiseptic.

Among the several antibacterial cleaning products, hand sanitizers are widely used.

Health Problems with Antibacterial Soaps and Sanitizers:

Please check for some traced health problems arising out of antibacterial hand sanitizers and soaps. You should be aware if you use it daily. This will create awareness and help you prevent from various risks.

  • The scent ingredients are usually made of toxic chemicals. These are harmful to your body and especially children.

  • Triclosan and other ingredients weaker the immune system. This reduces the disease prevention strength of the body. Triclosan also creates hormonal disruption. The bacteria may become immune to antiseptics and weaker the immune system.

  • Alcohol poisoning is a major risk because of ethyl alcohol ingredients. The alcohol concentration is above 60% which is very hazardous. If children or anyone accidentally consumes it, they may face fatal injuries. Alcohol can also be consumed in the body through inhaling vapours of sanitizers.

  • The use of sanitizers can also kill the good bacteria necessary for the body. This will lead to antibiotic resistance and weaker the immune system simultaneously. Several cases of acute gastroenteritis have been reported. Triclosan makes the bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

  • The sanitizer products have a caution message of keeping it away from children. They may consume it and face many intense problems. Also if they start using it early, they may weaken their immune system early. Researchers have found that children with the long-term use of hand sanitizers fall ill to innocuous and preventable diseases. It is advisable to use unscented sanitizers.

  • Triclosan is used as an active ingredient in non-alcoholic sanitizers. If you use hand sanitizers of Triclosan components, you need to know that it is effectively used in pesticides. So just imagine what it can do to your body. It swiftly gets absorbed by the skin and enters the blood. This develops superbugs in the body. This causes various cancers, hormonal and neurological ill effects, allergies and muscle weakness. Research has also found that it causes infertility.

  • Benzalkonium Chloride is one of the prime compounds that kills bacterial cells in our body. It is similarly hazardous for our body cells too. Studies have found it to be highly toxic for birds and fishes.

  • Phthalates compounds develop the fragrance in the antibacterial body washes. It is chemically toxic. Before meal, hand sanitizer should be completely avoided as the odour can enter food and then your body. That may damage body functions and organs.

  • Irony is hand sanitizer doesn’t clean all the dirt from hands. Fat and sugar remain unaffected. In fact. they collect more dirt making your hand untidy. So it is better to wash hands with soap and water.

  • Continuous use of sanitizers makes the hands rough. The skin is damaged in long term. The outer layer of the skin gets broken down because of parabens.

  • Many ingredients are hidden by manufacturers as proprietary information. The unknown ingredients maybe toxic and hazardous for health. It may be an unknown cause for various health problems.

Triclosan in sanitizers gets flushed in the ecosystem through drainage. It affects the plants and aquatic ecosystem. The plants lose the photosynthesis ability. Aquatic plants and organisms get toxic and killed. In the end, we are damaging ourselves as environment and society health and well-being in a long term.

The use of sanitizers should be avoided as much as possible. Everything that glitters is not gold. Sanitizers advertised as cleaners are not health products. They are just a corporate FMCG merchandise with smart marketing for profits motive and little health benefit.

Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad