Although you’ll find commercial hand sanitizers almost anywhere you go (stores, hospitals, banks, schools, etc.), there is an ever-growing base of scientific research showing that these chemical-based hand sanitizers will actually pose serious risks in the long-run by causing hormonal damage and contributing to antibiotic resistant super bugs.
Why You Should AVOID Store-Bought Hand Sanitizers
Store-bought hand sanitizers can increase absorption of BPA which can lead to hormone disruption. A recent study showed that most store-bought hand sanitizers contain penetration enhancing chemicals such as isopropyl myristate and propylene glycol which can greatly increase your skin’s absorption thereby making you more susceptible to BPA absorption. After using hand sanitizer and handling an item like a common store receipt (which contains high levels of BPA), your skin can absorb even more BPA than normal, then transfer that BPA from your hands to food, then back into your mouth causing a cycle of BPA exposure. The study states:
“The elevated levels of BPA that we observed due to holding thermal paper after using a product containing dermal penetration enhancing chemicals have been related to an increased risk for a wide range of developmental abnormalities as well as diseases in adults.”
When you see the term ‘fragrance’ on a hand sanitizer or other product label, it can include up to 300 toxic chemicals and only say ‘fragrance’! Companies are not required to disclose what is in these “fragrances” or how they are made. Many of the chemicals used in fragrances have been linked to hormonal damage, reproductive toxicity, allergies, respiratory damage and even cancer.
Overuse of bacteria-killing products like chemical hand sanitizers and antibacterial soap can lead to antibiotic resistance, which can create superbugs and diseases that are resistant to antibiotics. The effectiveness of antibiotic hand sanitizers is strongly in dispute, with many arguing that it actually causes more harm than good in the long-run.
“A survey of 161 long-term care facilities in the United States presented at an American College of Preventative Medicine meeting in February revealed an association between the preferential use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers for routine hand hygiene with an increased risk for outbreaks of norovirus, the highly infectious virus that causes most cases of acute gastroenteritis.” (source)
What natural alternative can you use instead?
When we’re talking about day to day hygiene, science shows that just plain soap (non anti-bacterial) and water are more effective at battling bad bacteria than store-bought hand sanitizers. So when you have the option, just use soap and water. However, we all have times when we are out and about and don’t have the option of soap and water….that’s where essential oils come in!
Essential oils are a wonderful natural alternative because of their antiviral qualities. Some are even calling EOs the “New Antibiotics” because of their benefits and few side-effects. Essential oils are unique because they have the ability to address bad bacteria and leave good bacteria mostly undisturbed while supporting the immune system, so they are an excellent alternative to store-bought hand sanitizers. Dr. David Stewart, an advocate for using essential oils as a more effective way of treating many modern day issues, explains that pharmaceutical drugs “…are incapable of such intelligent discriminations and act only in preprogrammed directions, like robots, whether beneficial or not.”
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