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Essay sample about sanitizers

The CDC’s recent recommendation to use benzalkonium chloride for hand sanitizer, which is supported by literature and eases pressures on ABHR (alcohol-based hand rub) supply chains, opens up the possibility for more options in hand disinfection. Products containing benzalkonium chloride that adhere to FDA OTC monograph regulations may be viable solutions.

If the recommendations are extended, it would also allow for the immediate implementation of a viable alternative to hand washing in situations where alcohol-based products are restricted. Benzalkonium chloride hand sanitizer was compared with 70% ethanolic hand sanitizer for a week, and the results showed that benzalkonium chloride hand sanitizer was more effective at decreasing Staphylococcus aureus on healthcare workers’ hands.

Ethanol-based hand sanitizer production

With the recent outbreak of coronavirus, many businesses are facing supply chain problems. In order to combat this issue, distilleries and breweries have started producing hand sanitizer using the World Health Organization’s recommended formula. By taking all necessary precautions, these companies are able to produce hand sanitizer efficiently and safely.

Alcohol and soaps

The CDC has stressed that it is imperative to clean one’s hands regularly in order to reduce the spread of germs and diseases. Soap and alcohol disinfectant work equally well on bacteria by breaking down their cell membranes. If water is unavailable, alcoholic disinfectants are an adequate substitution, but they must have an alcoholic content of 60% or higher.

In contrast to soap, alcohol-based disinfectants do not destroy all kinds of germs, such as noroviruses and clostridium difficile, which can cause common illnesses. One of the major drawbacks of sanitizers is that the liquid may evaporate prior to applying it evenly on all hands, reducing the efficacy of disinfectants. Furthermore, chemicals on gloves or filthy hands reduce the efficacy of disinfectants.

Soap or hand sanitizer?

Washing your hands with soap and water has been recommended by the CDC, as it is not only more effective in removing dirt and microorganisms but also unwanted chemicals. A 2016 systematic review showed that when compared to using hand sanitizers, washing your hands with soap removed pathogenic bacteria much more effectively. However, when testing different ethanol-based hand sanitizers against envelope viruses,It was found that soap and disinfectants were both more than 99% effective in reducing viral activity.

Although not enough studies have been conducted on the direct comparisons between soap and disinfectants, in some specific viruses and bacteria, soap and water has proven to be more effective than alcoholic disinfectants. Furthermore, washing hands with soap removes potentially harmful fatty acids from the skin that can lead to irritation or other problems. To combat this issue, hand sanitizers have been created that are not only effective against pathogenic microorganisms but also improve the condition of the skin by adding emollients.

Possible negative effects of sanitizers


Ethanol is commonly used as a disinfectant and alcoholic drink. The risks of skin absorption and skin cancer caused by carcinogenicity are uncertain due to a lack of current study. There is no method to determine safe levels of ethanol disinfectants in the environment. Various research have shown that acute exposures are not harmful. Blood ethanol levels, on the other hand, are affected by long-term exposure to ethanol-based hand sanitizers (70% ethanol).

Through the skin, 70% ethanol is absorbed in humans with 33% damaged skin (33%). Furthermore, exposure to ethanol-sensitive skin can result in systemic toxicity and reaction. In cosmetics, using ethanol on injured skin is not suggested either. Regular exposure to ethanol may cause eye irritation, skin dryness, cracking, redness, itching, and contact dermatitis. Studies have illustrated that ethanol sanitizers affect the concentration of ethyl glucuronide present in urine samples.

Ethanol-based hand sanitizers can have dangerous consequences if ingested. effects include: Clinical symptoms appearing 1 to 2 hours after consumption, vomiting, epigastric pain, and various depressions of the central nervous system. If a lethal dose is consumed it can be life threatening. Ethanol poisoning has also been linked to hyperthermia, possible heart attacks, arrythmias , hypoglycaemia , ketoacidosis ,and hypotension.


Isopropyl alcohol poisoning is more fatal when the molecule is of a higher weight. Studies have also shown that the lethal dose was about 250 ml. However, consuming 50% concentration of more than 25 ml isopropanol only caused minor symptoms and exposure to lower doses were not serious health concerns.

Isopropyl alcohol can have harmful long-term effects on children, such as depression, hypotension, and central nervous system dysfunction. It also irritates the stomach lining and may cause gastritis, ketosis, low blood sugar levels, respiratory depression, and high creatinine levels in the blood. A large dose of isopropyl alcohol can damage heart muscle and its regular use leads to rhabdomyolysis, myoglobinuria, and acute renal failure. Ingesting 400 mg/dL or more of a 70% isopropyl solution was linked with seventy percent of deaths from the substance. Isopropanol absorbed through the skin irritates it, while extended exposure causes blemishes, wrinkles, redness, and dryness.

Hydrogen peroxide

When used alone, hydrogen peroxide is only harmful if taken in high amounts. It can induce portal vein obstruction, stomach abnormalities, mild irritability, and vomiting when consumed in large quantities. It generates poisonous gases as a result of the breakdown of nitrogen and water by oxygen. Air embolism may occur as a result of the presence of oxygen and water in many organs.

Child safety

Sanitizers in bright colors with enticing scents are freely available and may be licked by children. Minor doses aren’t hazardous, but young children are more likely to be poisoned than teenagers. When young children are intoxicated with alcohol, they’re more likely to suffer from liver problems. Reports now show that youngsters, including those who have apnoea, acidosis, or coma, have been using alcohol-based hand sanitizers. The CDC published a study in which they reviewed data supplied to the National Poison Data System (NPDS) regarding sanitizer exposures in children under the age of 12–14. The United States reported that 9504 infants under the age of 12 came into contact with a disinfectant during the first half of 2020, and there was concern that even a little amount of alcohol might damage youngsters.

Risks for skin

Too much use of disinfectants can actually damage your skin and make it easier for you to catch other viruses. Hand sanitizers dry out your skin, making it more susceptible to bacteria and other germs. In fact, surveys have shown that increased use of hand sanitizers actually increases the chances of getting norovirus. Alcohol in antibacterial hand sanitizers can also harm the skin’s lipid levels, causing hand eczema.

Common symptoms of dermatitis include dryness, acne, wrinkles, burning, erythema and cracking. Currently in China, a study has been done observing the skin damage to front-line workers from excessive hand-washing due to COVID-19.

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American Education Writer

Natalie Wexler is a DC-based education journalist focusing on literacy and the so-called achievement gap. She is the author of The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System-and How to Fix It (Avery 2019), and the co-author of The Writing Revolution: Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grades (Jossey-Bass 2017), a step-by-step guide to using the instructional method developed by Dr. Judith Hochman. She is also a contributor on education to and the author of three novels.