2010-06-25 15.10.20

To Wash Or Not To Wash, That Is The Question


To wash or not to wash your hands.  Have you ever asked yourself that question when determining whether if a hand sanitizer fits the bill to clean your hands? Or have you ever used these sanitizers for your little ones?  Have you ever look at some of the harmful ingredients in hand sanitizers that gave you a sense of relief?  If you haven’t, trust me you want to be aware of the many harmful chemicals laden with contaminants.  Some of these ingredients you wouldn’t want to give to your worst enemy.  But, the question that begs asking is why is it your products?  If you are a friend of mine chances are we have had lunch together or dinner.  In fact, if you are a friend in all probability we have definitely been surrounded somewhere by food.  Food is my favorite addiction. I love food!   I’m sorry, I got distracted I was going somewhere else with this post.  I’m often at lunch or dinner where someone offers hand sanitizers prior to eating.  I always politely say no thanks to the horror of those sitting with me.  I don’t know if it is the facial expression  I make or that I say no thanks as if I know something you don’t.

For many years I’ve warned friends and family of the false sense of security hand sanitizers bring.  I would look at many brands that line the shelves in the store  and see that many did not contain the proper strength of alcohol that I know as a formulator to properly sanitize the hands nor did they contain ingredients that they claimed to contain  surfactants that would actually cleanse or sanitize the hands.  Time after time, I would tell whomever would listen that you just simply can not beat  good old fashion soap and water.  To understand cleansing and disinfection you must also understand that a product must be hydrophobic and hydrophilic.  Without getting into too much of the science, a cleansing product must be able to attract the dirt and then also be able to be rinsed away.  Many of the ingredients contained in hand sanitizers lack ingredients that do both.  So I was always skeptical and I knew that this was a marketing strategy. If we can scare you with something, we can create any product that will become the solution.  Just think about how many of you who have brought the no rinse products thinking that you have properly cleansed your hands?   Here’s food for thought.  Just pretend  that you had E. Coli on your hands.  You rubbed your hands with a sanitizer that you purchased at the drugstore or your fancy Bath and Body Shop.  Now, knowing that you have E. Coli on your hands, would you still eat without washing?  Most of us would say no.  But, sadly that is exactly what we are doing when we believe that we have killed germs on our hands and yet not rinsed.  The world of health and beauty is a billion dollar business with one motive in mind.  To get you to purchase.  The makers will employ any kind of tactic, scheme and advertisement to reel you in.  The next time you think about soap, consider using all natural pure cold process soap.  Soap that is hand-made and free of harmful contaminants is what you want on your skin.    I was so happy when we finally got a ruling from the FDA on this vary subject:

For Immediate Release

September 2, 2016



The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued a final rule establishing that over-the-counter (OTC) consumer antiseptic wash products containing certain active ingredients can no longer be marketed. Companies will no longer be able to market antibacterial washes with these ingredients because manufacturers did not demonstrate that the ingredients are both safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections. Some manufacturers have already started removing these ingredients from their products.

This final rule applies to consumer antiseptic wash products containing one or more of 19 specific active ingredients, including the most commonly used ingredients – triclosan and triclocarban. These products are intended for use with water, and are rinsed off after use.  This rule does not affect consumer hand “sanitizers” or wipes, or antibacterial products used in health care settings.

“Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). “In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term.”

The agency issued a proposed rule in 2013 after some data suggested that long-term exposure to certain active ingredients used in antibacterial products — for example, triclosan (liquid soaps) and triclocarban (bar soaps) — could pose health risks, such as bacterial resistance or hormonal effects. Under the proposed rule, manufacturers were required to provide the agency with additional data on the safety and effectiveness of certain ingredients used in over-the-counter consumer antibacterial washes if they wanted to continue marketing antibacterial products containing those ingredients. This included data from clinical studies demonstrating that these products were superior to non-antibacterial washes in preventing human illness or reducing infection.

Antibacterial hand and body wash manufacturers did not provide the necessary data to establish safety and effectiveness for the 19 active ingredients addressed in this final rulemaking. For these ingredients, either no additional data were submitted or the data and information that were submitted were not sufficient for the agency to find that these ingredients are Generally Recognized as Safe and Effective (GRAS/GRAE). In response to comments submitted by industry, the FDA has deferred rulemaking for one year on three additional ingredients used in consumer wash products – benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride andchloroxylenol (PCMX) – to allow for the development and submission of new safety and effectiveness data for these ingredients. Consumer antibacterial washes containing these specific ingredients may be marketed during this time while data are being collected.

Washing with plain soap and running water remains one of the most important steps consumers can take to avoid getting sick and to prevent spreading germs to others. If soap and water are not available and a consumer uses hand sanitizer instead, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendsthat it be an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

Since the FDA’s proposed rulemaking in 2013, manufacturers already started phasing out the use of certain active ingredients in antibacterial washes, including triclosan and triclocarban. Manufacturers will have one year to comply with the rulemaking by removing products from the market or reformulating (removing antibacterial active ingredients) these products.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by helping to ensure the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for helping to ensure the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, and products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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