Is Hand Sanitizer Toxic?

Is Hand Sanitizer Toxic? As we all know very well that at this juncture of modern life we are everywhere surrounded by viruses, germs, etc. Hence, sanitization plays an important role in our livelihood. But as there is a saying “everything has its merits and demerits “, hand sanitizers also have some disadvantages causing health problems.

Sanitizer: A boon or bane?

Nowadays, different emails, messages (WhatsApp, Facebook…etc) are getting viral warning parents not to use hand sanitizers due to the risk they pose to children. And hand sanitizers can be dangerous if swallowed. Most children who try to “taste” or “lick” of hand sanitizer can experience mild symptoms and can be safely managed at home with the assistance of the poison center.

However, hand sanitizer tastes bad and causes burning sensations, so most of the children will not swallow large amounts to produce symptoms. But, there are children who can drink anything without knowing about the complications they can cause, and in those cases, alcohol poisoning can result.


The bottom line is- Is Hand sanitizer toxic? Hand sanitizers are good for killing germs and viruses, they should be kept out of the reach of children and should be used as instructed on the label. Adults should monitor their children using the amount of sanitizer and make sure that hands wet with sanitizer are not put in the mouth.


Toxicity contained by sanitizers


The Food And Drug Administration (FDA) has listed several hand sanitizers which should be avoided by consumers. FDA has also listed 75 such hand sanitizers, tainted with methanol.


Methanol can dehydrate the skin and can result in dermatitis to the affected region, as methanol is absorbed through the skin. Is hand sanitizer toxic? Methanol toxicity can be caused by ingestion or from absorption from the lungs ( inhaling methanol fumes ) or absorption from the skin.


Symptoms caused by methanol poisoning include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, weakness, visual disturbance, unconsciousness, and fumes from methanol are also flammable.

Choosing the right sanitizer


There are several brands in the market but one should go to the brands, you trust and rely on. According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention ( CDC ), a good had sanitizer should contain at least 60 percent of ethanol and 70 percent of isopropanol.

“FDA also ensures that labels may not be enough to ensure safety. Hence, we should consult a doctor before using any particular brand of hand sanitizer.” Is hand sanitizer toxic?

Types of AlcoholOther common namesAcceptable
EthylEthanol
Alcohol
Yes
IsopropylIsopropanol
2-propanol
Yes
MethylMethanol
Wood alcohol
No
1-Propyl1-propanolNo


Do’s and Don’ts


⦁ Do use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. It should contain at least 60 percent alcohol. Non-alcohol-based sanitizer multiply germs instead of killing them.


⦁ Don’t make your own hand sanitizer. It is a complicated and dangerous process and homemade hand sanitizer may not be effective.


⦁ Do rub your hands properly after applying hand sanitizer. Is hand sanitizer toxic? Cover all the surfaces of your hands and fingers. Rub your hands until they feel dry as hand sanitizer may not be effective if you wipe them off before your hand is dry.


⦁ Don’t use a recalled hand sanitizer. Some hand sanitizers manufactured in different countries have used methanol, which is toxic and can cause different health problems.


⦁ Do be careful with children. Keep hand sanitizer out of the reach of young children.


⦁ Don’t swallow them. Hand sanitizers are not safe to drink and can cause different health problems.


In most cases, you should prefer washing hands with soap instead of regularly using hand sanitizers. Hand sanitizers should be used only if there is no sink around to wash hands.

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