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Hand Sanitizer

What Does Hand Sanitizer Mean?

Hand sanitizers are a type of antimicrobial agent that kill or permanently inactivate at least 99.9 percent of microorganisms when used on the hands. Microorganisms include viruses, fungi, and bacteria.

Safeopedia Explains Hand Sanitizer

Most hand sanitizers use toxic chemicals—especially alcohol—as their active ingredient, so they are therefore hazardous if ingested. Hand sanitizers are often used in occupational settings where there is an environmental risk of transmitting infection-causing pathogens, such as the healthcare setting.

Alcohol-based sanitizers are usually preferred to handwashing with soap in the occupational healthcare setting. They are faster, more efficient, and easier on the skin than repeated handwashing. However, some kinds of pathogens—such as norovirus—are more effectively removed by soap than by hand sanitizers. There is some evidence that the use of hand sanitizers in non-healthcare settings, such as offices, may reduce episodes of illness and illness-related absenteeism.

Hand sanitizers are not suitable for all settings. They are not recommended for use on hands that are soiled with visible amounts of dirt or grease. These contaminants must be mechanically removed by soap. Further, hand sanitizers may not be effective at removing certain types of chemicals, such as pesticides.


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