Rinse-free hand sanitizers are, by definition, intended for degerming skin without the aid of rinsing with soap and water. This type of product has steadily gained popularity in schools and public facilities to prevent the flu. However, the risks of using such hand sanitizers far exceed the benefits as most have carcinogenic and immune suppressing compounds.
Health agencies across the world have annouced a need for immediate and persistent protection from harmful microbes and viruses, especially those considered by world health officials as imminent threats such as the H1N1 flu. Yet, the solutions proposed for antiseptic preparations are often deadlier than diseases themselves and at a detriment to long-term health.
This is especially a concern when it comes to their promotion in schools and public facilities which cater to millions of children. "Our plan is to give students safe topical protection that is easily accessible and prevents germs from spreading," stated Charolette Dubois, a public health nurse in Montreal. Dubois said she considers most hand sanitizers safe, although she admits never actually looking at the ingredients.
Many brands of sanitizers contain more than 60 percent alcohol, the same type found in alcoholic drinks, but others are made with isopropyl alcohol, which can be fatal, even in small doses if children ingest it.
“As kids return to classrooms it is more important than ever that we take steps to slow the spread of influenza-like viruses, including the novel H1N1 virus,” said Dr. Mark Horton, who is the director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
An alcohol-free hand sanitizer, like Soapopular recently launched in the UK, can be the first line of defence against the spread of swine flu, claims its Canadian manufacturers. Soapopular has been popping up all over the U.K., Canada and U.S. child care venues, schools and health care facilities. It carries FDA approval in the U.S., Health Canada approval in Canada and MHRA approval to market in the UK.
The soapopular product differs from most hand sanitizers in that it does not use alcohol as its main active ingredient. They claim it makes it a safer option for children since it contains an ammonium compound called Benzalkonium Chloride (BAC), which clinical research has shown to destroy most viruses in seconds including avian flu, SARS, influenza and H1N1 virus.
On closer examination of soapopular and similar products that contain Benzalkonium Chloride, there are alarming toxic effects which are a far greater risk to our health than any prevention benefits they tout.