Are Hand Sanitizers Really Bad For Immunity? ~ Sara Novak

Via on Jan 16, 2012

(Natural News) It’s the season of hand sanitizers. Local establishments frequented by parents are peppered with moms and dads chasing their children around with mini bottles of the clear goo. It’s a must have tool for fending off the common cold and a host of other seasonal ailments. Or is it? What’s the truth about hand sanitizers? Are they effective and are they safe?

Hand Sanitizer Effectiveness

Hand sanitizers claim to be 99.9 percent effective at removing germs but studies have shown that this isn’t necessarily the case, according to About.com. When tests are done to check for the removal of germs, they aren’t done on hands because hands are too complex. Studies are instead done on inanimate objects, which offer unrealistic results. Barbara Almanza, an associate professor at Purdue University has studied the topic extensively and she found that hand sanitizers may actually increase the amount of bacteria on the hand rather than decrease it.

“Waterless” products such as hand sanitizers are less effective at bacterial removal than their than regular soap and water and antibacterial products and soaps may actually be harmful. This is especially true for young children who don’t yet have fully developed immune systems.

Hand Sanitizers Decrease Immunity

Northwestern researchers studied infectious disease in Filipino children, a population with a high level of infectious diseases in early childhood compared to Western countries. Researchers followed the children for 22 years, starting in utero, according to Science Daily.

Researchers specifically tested for C-reactive protein (CRP) production. “Levels of the protein rise in the blood due to inflammation, an integral part of the immune system’s fight against infection.”

“Contrary to assumptions related to earlier studies, our research suggests that ultra-clean, ultra-hygienic environments early in life may contribute to higher levels of inflammation as an adult, which in turn increases risks for a wide range of diseases,” said Thomas McDade, lead author of the study, associate professor of anthropology in Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and a faculty fellow at the Institute for Policy Research.

The Dangers of Triclosan

Hand sanitizing has become all the rage but it’s not necessarily a good thing. Triclosan, widely used as an antibacterial ingredient in household hand sterilization products, breaks down rapidly when exposed to chlorinated water and produces toxic chemicals, including chloroform. According to a study published on the Environmental Science & Technology research website As Soon As Publishable (ASAP), many antibacterial products may not only be ineffective, but harmful.

This research shows that traditional soap and water is more effective at bacterial removal than both waterless agents and antibacterial soap. Just because the label reads 99.9 percent effective doesn’t mean it’s true. Our body’s immunity is the single most important tool for fighting bacteria and viruses that attack our vessel. Arm yourself by eating a healthy diet, reducing stress through yoga and meditation, and getting enough sleep this cold season.

 

[This article was previously posted on Discovery Fit & Health]

 


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About Alex Myles

Alex Myles is qualified as a Yoga teacher, Reiki Master, Teacher of Tibetan Meditation, Dragon Magic and a Spiritual coach to name just a few. Alex has no intention to teach others on a formal basis for many years to come, instead, she is collecting qualifications along with life’s lessons. One day, when the time is right, Alex will set up a quaint studio, in a quirky crooked building where she will breathe and appreciate the slowness of those days as life is just way too busy right now! Reading and writing has always been one of Alex’s passions. Alex likes to consider herself as a free spirit rather than a commitment-phobe. Trying to live as aligned to a Buddhist lifestyle as is possible in this day and age, she just does not believe in "owning" anything or anyone. Based on the theory that we ‘cannot lose someone that was not ours to lose’ she flails through life finding joy and magic in the most unexpected places. Mother to a 21 year old daughter and three adorable pups, she appreciates that some of the best moments in life are the 6am forest walks watching the dogs run, play and interact with one another and with nature. Connect with her on Facebook and check out her blog, Love and Madness. 

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