My Hand Sanitizer Does Whaaaat?

hand sanitizer A study came out a few months ago that should have people a little concerned.  The title was pretty funny:

“Holding Thermal Receipt Paper and Eating Food after Using Hand Sanitizer Results in High Serum Bioactive and Urine Total Levels of Bisphoenol A (BPA)”

The title kind of says it all – the study showed that if you use hand sanitizer, then touch a thermal receipt, and then eat food with your hands, your BPA levels go up.  Way up. Why is this a problem?  Read on.

BPA is considered a potent “endocrine-disruptor”, which basically means it sort of looks and smells like estrogen to your body, and thus acts like estrogen.  BPA in the human body has been associated with everything from infertility, obesity, thyroid dysfunction, and neurological issues, to name a few.  Its bad stuff and something you generally want to avoid.

BPA made its way into the news a few years ago when it was first suggested to cause health issues, and was therefore removed from many plastic drinking bottles and containers because of public concern surrounding it.  After all if BPA is so bad, having a “BPA Free” label on your plastic bottle was good for sales.

[Never mind the fact that companies switched BPS (Bisphenol S) for BPA, which if you’re wondering “What’s the difference? They sound the same?” There's basically the same thing.]

So, we’ve known for a while that BPA is bad.

Hand sanitizers on the other hand, are kind of the rage nowadays.  No one cares that they're creating superbugs and their effectiveness is questionable. Its a quick easy way to clean our hands, right? Not unless you want to super-absorb everything you touch for the next however long! Hand sanitizers contain chemicals called “dermal penetration enhancers”. Sounds gross, right? It is. It makes our skin more permeable and absorbent.

Our skin is supposed to protect us.  It’s water-proof for a reason.  It is designed to be a physical barrier between the outside environment and our body. Increasingr absorbability isn’t necessarily a good thing. But, it's  one of the things hand sanitizers do.

And get this. Some sunscreens do the same friggen thing! Farmers who used sunscreens were tested and they had increased absorption of herbicides they were using.  Great.

But back to the point - this recent study showed that people who used hand sanitizers and touched a BPA-laden object (aka receipt), increased their levels of BPA, which was accentuated when they ate finger-foods after touching the receipt.

So what do you do?  Firstly, I’m not a big fan of conventional hand sanitizers and think there are far better options. You can make your own (safer & effective) DIY Hand Sanitizer with 2 ingredients: Aloe Vera Gel + Thieves.

Secondly, stay away from BPA as much as you can, which means avoiding plastics. And when the check out lady asks, "Would you like the receipt in the bag?" You give her a big, fat resounding YES!

And lastly, wash your hands before you eat. This is something moms have been saying for eternity, and seems to make sense more than ever.