Hand sanitiser is defined as a disinfectant agent in the form of foam, gel or liquid. The common names of hand sanitisers are hand rub, hand disinfectant, or hand antiseptic, hand disinfectant.
USE OF HAND SANITISERS
Hand sanitisers are applied on hands to kill different kinds of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, etc.
HISTORY OF HAND SANITISERS
The hand sanitisers were first launched in 1966 specially designed for healthcare facilities. The medical staff used it as a disinfectant. The hand rub became popular in the 1990s.
COMPOSITION AND TYPES OF HAND SANITIZERS
Hand sanitisers are also regarded as disinfectants and composed of chemicals that are effective against microorganisms.
The four key ingredients as issued by WHO are listed below.
- Alcohol – 90-99% isopropanol/ethanol/ n-propanol
- Distilled Water
- Hydrogen Peroxide
There are two types of hand sanitisers. The types are based on the composition of hand sanitisers.
- Hand Sanitisers Containing Alcohol
- Hand Sanitisers Alcohol-Free (Antimicrobial agents/Disinfectants and Emollient)
Optional Ingredients: Essential Oils
Coronaviruses are disease-causing agents that are responsible for the common cold, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.
The COVID-19 is a disease caused by coronaviruses started in 2019 and WHO declared it GLOBAL PANDEMIC on march 2020.
RISE IN THE USE OF HAND SANITISERS
There is a growing demand for hand sanitisers all around the world. The rise in the use of hand sanitisers is directly related to Global Pandemic- COVID-19. The reason is, hand sanitisers destroy/kill microorganisms including coronavirus. As the Covid-19 started, it was reported in the news that washing hands with soap and water can kill coronavirus. The hand sanitisers are also being used for the same purpose.
HARMFUL EFFECTS OF HAND SANITISERS
The harmful effects of hand sanitisers are listed below.
- Hand sanitisers can catch fire.
- It makes skin extremely dry and can cause eczema.
- Skin burns and skin irritations are common side effects of hand sanitizers
- Overusing hand sanitisers can weaken the immune system.
- The microorganisms can develop resistance against hand sanitisers.
- Consuming hand sanitiser can cause problems related to the central nervous system.
- Chemicals (phthalates) containing hand sanitisers affect the endocrine and reproductive systems.
- Inhaling fumes/consuming hand sanitizers can lead to cardiovascular problems.
There were many incidents reported during pandemic lockdown like “hand sanitisers caught fire”. Another shocking incident was when the driver applied hand sanitizer while smoking, and the car exploded.
PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES TO THE USE OF HAND SANITISERS
There are precautionary measures that one should consider while using hand sanitisers.
- The hand sanitizers don’t work on greasy hands.
- Don’t be lazy in washing your hands with soap and water.
- Avoid overusing hand rubs.
- At home, the use of soap and water is the most preferable solution for cleaning your hands.
- Hand sanitisers are for hands, don’t use them for cleaning home products or vegetables.
- Before cooking food wash your hands with water and soap and don’t apply hand sanitiser near the fire.
- Hand sanitisers are useful for microorganisms, they are ineffective against chemicals such as pesticides.
The sole aim of this article is to make the public aware of the negative effects of hand sanitisers and the importance of washing hands with soap and water.
Hand sanitisers should be used when necessary otherwise washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds would always remain first priority. The world is kept facing varying levels of lockdown due to Covid- 19 pandemic. The vaccination for Covid-19 is being carried out throughout the world. Soon it is hoped that the world will be free of coronaviruses even if it is not then we have vaccines to lessen the effects of the disease.
Also, check out COVID-19 Crisis Impacting Environmental Sustainability
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– MS Environmental Science
– Content Writer
Researcher, Nature Lover, and Environmentalist