Is Hand Sanitizer safe to use? I get asked this a lot. So, I answer this, and many more here and at http://www.ThomasDeLauer.com
1. Everywhere you turn you see antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers. Is it best to use these, or stay away and stick with soap and water?
2. Hand sanitizer contains triclosan, a chemical that is dangerous to our health, and has also been shown in studies to be no more effective in removing bacteria than conventional soaps (1).
Triclosan penetrates the skin and enters the bloodstream (4)
3. It has been known for decades that this chemical was not safe – it was nearly passed in 1978 by the FDA to ban this chemical, but this was never finalized. Currently there has still been no evidence of this chemical being safe or effective.
4. Triclosan has been shown to:
(a) Increase the ability of bacteria to be resistant to antibiotics
(b) Interfere with hormone regulation, which affects your metabolism and brain development(2)
-This is due to toxic chemicals, such as phthalates, which have been linked to endocrine system disruption (3)
(c) Impact estrogen and testosterone levels, leading to decreased sperm count (2)
(d) Weaken both heart and skeletal muscles (2)
Research bomb: In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it was found that triclosan impacts muscle function by interrupting the cellular communication necessary for muscle function. After just one dose, the mice and minnows being studied showed 25% reduced heart muscle function and 18% reduced grip strength (4)
(e) Linked to a weakened immune system, including an increase in both food and environmental allergies (2)
(f) Increases the body’s absorption of Bisphenol A (BPA) through skin, an extremely toxic chemical, up to 100 fold.
-BPA, which can also penetrate skin, is found in hard plastics and receipt paper, and has been linked to hormone disorders, diabetes, cancer and developmental problems. (5)
(g) Wipes out the healthy microbial biome that lives in our guts
-We are covered inside and out with microorganisms, known as our microbiome.
-This microbiome serves many important functions: digest and process foods, fight off depression, helps anxiety levels.
-Our microbiomes are very different from those of one another (we share on average 50% of our microbiomes with those around us), and when this is altered we can have digestion and personality changes.
-Triclosan wipes out our natural biota. (7)
Research bomb: A 2013 study published in PLOS One found that adults with higher levels of triclosan in their bodies had a higher BMI than those with lower levels.(6)
-We are just beginning to understand the importance of our individual microbiome on our physical and mental health. Avoiding hand sanitizer will help us to avoid triclosan and excess BPA exposure, keeping our microbiomes in their natural balance. When working hard on diet and exercise, it is important to also understand the interaction of how what we put on our bodies can affect our strength, body fat percentage, mental abilities and daily health.
1. IFLScience.com: Why You Should Stop Using Antibacterial Soap http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/antibacterial-soap-no-better-cleaning-hands-regular-soap
2. salon.com: The Danger of Antibacterial Soap
3. thestreet.com: 5 Hidden Dangers of Hand Sanitizers
4. healthland.time.com: Freaky Clean: Chemical in Antibacterial Soap Weakens Muscle Function
Freaky Clean: Chemical in Antibacterial Soap Weakens Muscle Function
5. IFLScience.com: Why You Should Never Use Hand Sanitizer
6. journals.plos.org: Urinary Triclosan is Associated with Elevated Body Mass Index in NHANES. November 21, 2013
7. youtube.com: DNews: Bacteria Can Change Your Personality