Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2010 08:41:28 -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: Kim Auletta <kauletta**At_Symbol_Here**NOTES.CC.SUNYSB.EDU>
Subject: Re: Hand sanitizer
In-Reply-To: <C7F5B34B.15DAE%snuz**At_Symbol_Here**>
my bottle of Purell says its 62% ethanol.

Check the manufacturer's label for your product. I think most of them are 

Also, our labs use 70% ethanol for cleaning, not IPA.

And, I'd rather ingest ethanol than isopropanol. Especially on the 

Kim Auletta
Lab Safety Specialist
EH&S    Z=6200
Stony Brook University
EH&S Web site:

Remember to wash your hands!

Christopher Suznovich 
04/22/2010 08:30 AM
Re: [DCHAS-L] Hand sanitizer
Sent by:
DCHAS-L Discussion List 

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 
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List 
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2010 07:47:38 -0400
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Hand sanitizer

From: "Ben Ruekberg" 
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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