Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2010 08:03:23 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Christopher Suznovich <snuz**At_Symbol_Here**MAC.COM>
Subject: Re: Hand sanitizer
In-Reply-To: <E3635CCC-1A9E-4ADA-9B67-6D10653B28EC**At_Symbol_Here**>
Actually hand sanitizers contain 90-99% isopropyl alcohol (IPA) which is the active ingredient in rubbing alcohol because it works as a good disinfectant.  It is also the alcohol in the alcohol wipes and pads in first aid kits.   Ethanol would not be used because of the possibility of people ingesting the gel to the ethanol and the possibility that any quantity of ethanol may enter the blood stream through openings in the skin such as cuts.  

Hand sanitizer is not meant to be wiped off.  You are supposed to rub your hands together until the hand sanitizers is your hands are dry.  

The issue with hand sanitizers is somewhere to some, since they are a disinfectant they are better than soap or should be used more often than they should.  Having typically 99% IPA is an issue because there are bacteria that can live in high alcohol environments.  When cleaning and disinfecting microbiology labs and work areas, a solution of 70% IPA is used because of that possibility.  



From: List Moderator <ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**>
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2010 07:47:38 -0400
To: <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Hand sanitizer

From: "Ben Ruekberg" <bruekberg**At_Symbol_Here**>
Date: April 20, 2010 7:43:21 AM EDT
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Hand sanitizer

these units bring the whole aspect of hand hygiene to the student's mind

Thank you (and everyone else) for your input.
I do not wish to seem disputatious, but I think there are two reservations concerning your answer.
1) Hand sanitizer, as it is not wiped off, merely moves contamination over a wider area.
2) Hand sanitizers are principally ethanol, which may increase the permeability of the skin, increasing the rate of absorption of a chemical until such time as the hands are actually washed.
Again, I feel that what important here (and I may have an exaggerated sense of its importance) is the distinction between behavior in the lab and the “civilian” world.  
For instance, it is relatively safe to sit on the floor or on a desk in the civilian world, but not in the lab.  I think Bertrand Russell sited the example of smoking as generally undesirable, but in a nitroglycerin factory, criminal.



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