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Prevention of Covid-19: How to read the ingredients of hand sanitizer, avoid buying products contain

The World Health Organization (WHO) says hand hygiene, frequent hand washing with water and soap or alcohol-based hand sanitizer is one of the best measures people need to take right now to prevent Covid-19 epidemic.

But to choose the best, safest and most effective hand sanitizer, you must know how to read their chemical composition.

And it's best to avoid buying products containing 28 banned substances that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has regulated. These products are considered unsafe when sold as over-the-counter medicines such as hand sanitizers.

Read the chemical composition of hand sanitizer, and avoid buying products with one of these 28 banned substances.
Read the chemical composition of hand sanitizer, and avoid buying products with one of these 28 banned substances.

The main ingredients of dry hand sanitizer are alcohol-based compounds that work to inactivate viruses and bacteria. Examples include ethanol, isopropanol, n-propanol, or a combination of two of the above compounds.

Alcohol acts on microorganisms, breaking their outer shell. For the new corona virus that causes the Covid-19 epidemic, these alcohol-based compounds will dissolve the virus's nuclear envelope, causing it to lose its spike receptors and be inactivated (cannot infect host cells). more).

Research shows that alcohol-based active ingredients are most effective at concentrations of ethanol between 60% and 85%, isopropanol between 60% and 80%, and n-propanol between 60% and 80%. Therefore, you should choose a hand sanitizer with an alcohol content in this threshold.

Also, because alcohol can dry out hands, manufacturers often add some moisturizing ingredients like glycerin or sodium lactate. Fragrance is also added to create fragrance.

Finally, to kill some stubborn bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, some hand sanitizers will be added with antibacterial ingredients like benzalkonium chloride.

The above ingredients are currently rated as safe for use on the skin of the hands, even when licked. But you need to be absolutely careful not to drink hand sanitizer directly because it can cause alcohol poisoning.

In addition to these common ingredients, you should avoid choosing dry hand sanitizer products that contain unsafe chemicals.

Triclosan is a banned substance in hand sanitizer products.
Triclosan is a banned substance in hand sanitizer products.

Since 2019, the US Food and Drug Administration (CDC) has issued a regulation banning the use of 28 substances in over-the-counter hand sanitizers, including triclosan and common benzethonium chloride. used to disinfect.

The full list includes:

Benzethonium chloride, Chloroxylenol, Chlorhexidine gluconate,

Cloflucarban, Fluorosalan, Hexachlorophene, Hexylresorcinol,

Iodine complex (ammonium ether sulfate and polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate),

Iodine complex (phosphate ester of alkylaryloxy polyethylene glycol),

Methylbenzethonium chloride, Nonylphenoxypoly (ethyleneoxy) ethanoliodine,

Phenol (around 1.5%), Poloxamer iodine complex, Povidone-iodine 5-10%,

Secondary amyltricresols, Sodium oxychlorosene, Tribromsalan, Triclocarban,

Triclosan, Triple dye, Undecoylium chloride iodine complex,

Polyhexamethylene biguanide, Benzalkonium cetyl phosphate,

Cetylpyridinium chloride, Salicylic acid, Sodium hypochlorite,

Tea tree oil (tea tree oil),

Mixture of potassium vegetable oil,   phosphate sequestering agent and triethanolamine.

FDA statistics show that in the US market only about 3% of dry hand sanitizer products contain these chemicals. Other than that, most other products are still safe.

Consult FDA

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