Hand Sanitizer frequent Uses

Hi, Everyone and special thanks to the team of this page. Really appreciate your work indeed. I was keen interested know about the frequent use of various hand sanitizers on our liver. I have liver damages due to hep b virus and due to fear of COVID I constantly use hand sanitizers and soup for hand washing. Am I intentionally affecting my liver in order to be save from COVID?

Need our colleagues view and experience on this.

Regards

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Hi @Abdul,

Welcome to the community! I think this is a great question that many people might be wondering about. Probably the most dangerous for the liver is ethanol being absorbed or inhaled from the handwash (the majority of a hand sanitizer is alcohol).

I found a study looking at this: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735675706001318?via%3Dihub. It was quite small (only 5 people) but they got them to apply “5 mL of the product (62% denatured ethyl alcohol manufactured by Kimberley-Clark, Roswell, GA) to both hands and rubbed until dry. This activity was repeated 50 times over 4 hours.” This is probably a lot more than what you are doing in your day to day (even with COVID). Long story short, they could not detect any increase in ethanol levels in the blood after this study.

Others have looked at isopropanol hand sanitizers (getting participants to use it every 10 minutes!), finding a very small increase in the blood. https://www.journalofhospitalinfection.com/article/S0195-6701(04)00013-1/fulltext

These suggest that the sanitisers aren’t doing anything to your liver health. We can also rest easy a bit with data from health care workers, who use huge amounts of hand cleaning products but do not see any real increase in liver disease.

Hope this helps,

Thomas

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@ThomasTu a bundle of thanks for valuable information. This information give some relief indeed.

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Hi all,

I am an HBV virologist. Thomas’ assessment makes a lot of sense to me. The skin is a really good barrier to many chemicals, including most alcohols (such as Ethanol and Isopropyl alcohol which are in most hand sanitizers). I would not worry about that–it seems to me that reducing the risk of other infectious agents (bacteria, fungi, some viruses) that can be transmitted through contact would greatly outweigh the negligible risk from absorbing hand sanitizer components. (And I’m a compulsive hand-sanitzer user!).

John

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