Space & Innovation

Why You Should Stop Using Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer can kill a lot of the good bacteria on your hands, but research shows it can actually increase the amount of BPA entering your body!

Hand sanitizer is widely used as a quick way to clean your hands. Chances are, if you ask a bank teller, a cashier, or a teacher, they'll swear by it. However, new research indicates that this convenience may carry some considerable costs for our health.

First, alcohol-based hand sanitizer works by killing bacteria on your skin with the active ingredient called triclosan. The catch, though, is the solution kills bacteria indiscriminately. We need certain types of "good bacteria" to maintain our overall health, but these get wiped out with the harmful ones. Perhaps more alarming is that a new study, published in PLOS One, suggests using hand sanitizer increases your absorption of Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that messes with the body's endocrine system.

Scientists have linked higher levels of BPA to all kinds of health problems, including heart disease, infertility, cancer, and diabetes. The paper used to print receipts contains high levels of BPA and new research from the University of Missouri suggests that handling receipts and then using hand sanitizer does indeed increase the body's absorption of BPA.

Read more about hand sanitizer and BPA:

PLOS ONE: Holding Thermal Receipt Paper and Eating Food after Using Hand Sanitizer Results in High Serum Bioactive and Urine Total Levels of BPA