It's Time to Quit Hand Sanitizer

Bill Saporito aims to end his addiction
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2014 12:19 PM CDT
It's Time to Quit Hand Sanitizer
We need to rid ourselves of our addiction to hand sanitizer, writes Bill Saporito.   (Shutterstock)

Whether you're in an office building or on the subway, chances are a bottle of hand sanitizer is close by—and that used to suit Bill Saporito just fine. He underwent chemotherapy several years ago and had to avoid getting sick, and the resulting "germanoia" led to hand-sanitizer fanaticism, he writes in Time. In that way, he's not unlike many Americans—"but that zeal is hurting us," he notes. Hand sanitizer is a culprit in growing antibiotic resistance among bacteria.

What's more, ingredients like triclosan in products like soaps and deodorants may pose direct "health risks, such as bacterial resistance or hormonal effects," the FDA says. Whether it's World Health Organization antibiotic warnings or FDA calls for proof that sanitizer is actually better than soap and water, "the news from FDA and WHO is sobering," Saporito writes. "The germs are winning—and that’s actually why I should throw down my weapon." He plans to face his fears of movie theater seats and communal candy and "disarm." Click for his full piece. (More Bill Saporito stories.)

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