What Do you Mean The Hand Sanitizer Isn't Vegan?! Is there Anything Else I Should Know?
It is truly remarkable how quickly mob rule, a little propaganda (ok - a lot!) and fear can numb, and dumb, us down. To the point that we stop thinking and questioning. Yesterday I joked about the mandatory in-flight travel hygiene pack given to a friend as she headed from London back to Melbourne, Australia via Dubai. Make sure they given you the vegan one! 🤣
And there it is: the number one thing most people don't know about most hand sanitizers is that they're made with glycerin, which is typically made from pork fat. If it doesn't specifically SAY "vegetable glycerin" on the ingredient list, trust me, it isn't. Regular glycerin is cheap. Vegetable glycerin is made from soya, corn or palm - none of them great, by the way, in terms of conscious non-GMO products for the planet. But a step up from regular animal-derived glycerin. Vegetable glycerin is considerably more expensive and much harder to source.
Alternate chemical names for regular, animal-fat- derived glycerin and its derivatives are: 1,2,3-Propanetriol, 1,2,3-Trihydroxypropane, Dagralax, E442, Emery 912, Emery 916, Glycerol, Glycerine, Glycine, Glyceritol, Glycerol, Glycerolum, Glyceryl, Glycyl alcohol, Glyrol, Glysanin, Grocolene, IFP, Mono- and Diglycerides, Monostéarate de Glycérol, NSC 9230, Ophthalgan, Osmoglyn, PEG, Polyglycerol, PPG, Pricerine 9091, Propane-1,2,3-triol, Propanetriol, Triglycerides and Trihydroxypropane.
So in this post-Covid19 world, what else don't you know about "safe & harmless" hand-sanitizer, that you probably should?
If it contains isopropanol (the propane derived alcohol that most hand sanitizer products contain due to price), it's not safe for your pets to lick your hands. Missed my blog about that? Here it is again: Could Isopropanol Be Making Your Dog Sick?
Inhaling isopropanol or rubbing alcohol can cause nausea, vomiting, irritation of the nose and mucous membranes, throat irritations, and even difficulty with breathing; it can also trigger asthma attacks. Source What's the first thing many people do after they apply the highly volatile designed-to-evaporate gel or liquid alcohol cleaner 30 cm from their nose? They inhale it.
Many hand sanitizers are not truly "anti-viral" as they use rubbing alcohol or isopropanol - by definition only 68-72% pure. The clinical standard is actually 80% +. There's a LOT of clinical science about this!! Here's a general Clinical Literature Review to get you started.
The best anti-viral alcohol is NOT isopropanol or rubbing alcohol, but ethanol. "Among the short-chain alcohols, ethanol seems to possess one of the largest ranges of applications, due to both its surface-active and also disinfecting properties." Source.
High concentration alcohol products (or which hand sanitizer is one) are not safe to sell in many types of plastics. Why? Alcohol is a solvent. Unless it's in glass, metal or a specific plastic and stored at a cool temperature, you are applying not only the gel but a whole bunch of harmful plastic chemicals to your skin as well. Here's an incredible resource to consult - a table from CP Lab Safety about what types of chemicals are compatible with what types of plastics. Plastic Safety Table.
Triclosan is still added to some hand sanitizing products, despite research showing it is harmful to health and decreases thyroid hormone levels. US FDA has banned triclosan in over-the-counter hand sanitizers, but it is still common in many places and countries, and largely unchecked. You can read more about that Here.
Artificial fragrances added to most hand sanitizers are endocrine (hormone) disrupting and may cause respiratory distress in sensitive people, disturb natural hormone responses (everything from mental concentration to sex drive) and may encourage the growth of some cancers, over time. You Can Read More Here.
The other really important thing to say about hand sanitizers is they are NOT designed to be used regularly. They degrade the skin and cause dry, rough hands which are then MORE LIKELY to carry and transmit harmful bacteria. Supple, natural skin is your body's first immune defense.
WOW. So What To Do?
1. Buy your own excellent natural vegan hand sanitizer and always carry it with you. Most places are more than happy for you to use yours, in front of them.
2. If it's practical, ask where you can wash your hands with soap and water instead.
3. Avoid places that insist you using their B grade hand sanitizer, and make sure to follow up with management and explain why.
4. Squirt it and pull away at the last second, not unlike a clumsy and irresponsible lover. LOL.
5. Wipe as much of that crap OFF your hands as soon as possible.
6. Wash your hands well with soap and water, as soon as possible.
7. DON'T touch your baby's face or let them suck your hands.
8. DON'T let pets lick your hands.
Mostly, inform yourself and read the labels. Everywhere. Ask politely if you can please read the ingredient list on their bottle, and then ask if they have anything safer for you to use. I did that last week at an organic shop here in Chiang Mai. 🤣 I ended up having an informative chat with the manager and was finally excused from using the gel and shown towards the bathroom. 🤣
Speaking of bathrooms and washing hands, has anyone stopped to think what all these chemicals are doing to our rivers, oceans and waterways? I did, and it was a VERY sobering and depressing train of thought, let me tell you. You can read it here: So Who Pushed It?
If we Do and SAY nothing, we can't expect a better world. Now that the Covid-19 fear and initial panic is wearing off and we're starting to travel, it IS important that we choose wisely and well for our ongoing natural health and wellness.
Ask. Think. Read the Labels. Choose.