Hand Sanitizer might not be doing you any favors

So you use your hand sanitizer before entering a deli (maybe being cautious about Ebola), you pay the cashier for your meal, take your reciept, and then you eat your sandwich. You’re in trouble. A new study by PLOS One has shown that hand sanitizer contains dermal penetration enhancing chemicals, which allows absorption of Bisphenol […]

So you use your hand sanitizer before entering a deli (maybe being cautious about Ebola), you pay the cashier for your meal, take your reciept, and then you eat your sandwich.

You’re in trouble.

A new study by PLOS One has shown that hand sanitizer contains dermal penetration enhancing chemicals, which allows absorption of Bisphenol A, or BPA to be much higher than it would be otherwise. Health effects can come from just the skin absorption, but it’s worse when you ingest it.

BPA is a chemical originally developed as a form of synthetic estrogen in the 1930s. Now, the endocrine disrupting environmental contaminant  can be found on the surface of thermal receipt paper and some food and beverage packaging. So we are all exposed, that’s for sure, but it turns out that using hand sanitizer could make matters worse by 100 fold.

The study claims that this BPA exposure leads to  increased risk for a wide range of developmental abnormalities as well as diseases in adults.

Today on Public Radio International’s show Science Friday, the author of the PLOS One study, endocrinologist Frederick vom Saal from University of Missouri-Columbia, will discuss his findings. Tune in between 2 -4 p.m. Eastern Time or you can download the Science Friday app on your smartphone.

[Purell photo from flickr user Andrew Braithwaite]

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