The dangers of hand sanitizers

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration have opened investigations of hand sanitizers that have become chic since the onset of H1N1 flu.

Much of the focus is on triclosan, an ingredient in some sanitizers and in other products such as Colgate Total toothpaste. Triclosan is known to interfere with the working of the human endocrine system, which regulates hormone secretion and affects growth, development, mood, tissue function and metabolism. The Centers for Disease Control have reported that triclosan is found in the urine of 75 percent of the population.

There are also consumer complaints about sanitizers causing dry skin and at least one corporation has begun a television advertising campaign to say that its sanitizers do not.

Many physicians say that the use of hand sanitizers is entirely unnecessary since washing the hands with soap accomplishes the same thing at less cost.