purel hand sanitizer

It’s hard to imagine this country 100 years ago with little more than soap and water to protect people from germs. How did they survive amidst their filthy countrymen?  Well, as it turns out, we weren’t nearly as toxic then as we are today. We’ve entered into a new era of germs — superbugs that won’t die, and threats that weren’t nearly as present in past centuries as they are now.

Our rapid increase in population means more people with more germs in more places creating more risks for getting sick; it’s no wonder we’re all buying those little hand sanitizer bottles by the dozen. But that might all soon change.

Food & Water Watch has been busy lately. We recently reviewed their report on misleading or false claims on eco seafood labels, and we also posted their jaw-dropping map detailing the factory farms sprawl moving across our great nation — polluting air, water, and soil with millions of tons of animal waste run off (not to mention all the antibiotics being fed to livestock, the horrific conditions they suffer in and the government subsidization of these industries, making cheap, unhealthy and risky animal products prevalent, especially in our public schools). Now, Food & Water Watch and dozens of other environmental groups are petitioning the EPA to ban triclosan, the active ingredient in hand sanitizers. It is also found in children’s toys and household items that can become breeding grounds for germs. Trouble is, it can also lead to the development of resistant bacteria.

Triclosan is a known toxin, disrupting the endocrine system and could have negative effects on the reproductive system and links to cancer. It’s harmful to the environment, and because we’ve never used as much of the stuff as we have in the last 5 years, the long-term risks are unknown.

Germs are not going away any time soon; in fact, they may be getting stronger with antibiotic resistant bacteria on the rise.  Whether or not triclosan is banned, you can protect yourself naturally. Essential oils have long been safely used as antibacterial and antimicrobials. Lavender, clove, oregano, tea tree, eucalyptus and lemongrass are some options. One drop is often all you need. Blend with other oils, dilute and spray onto hands or surfaces. Frequent hand-washing is your best bet for preventing the spread of germs, and keep your hands away from your face when in public — germs enter through eyes, nose and mouth.

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Photo: Bratha courtesy of Creative Commons