Hand Foam Fights Bacteria Better
Sanitizing Product Under Development Uses Triclosan as Its Active Ingredient
WebMD News Archive
Sept 19, 2007 (Chicago) -- A new hand foam fights bacteria better and longer
than commercially available alcohol gels, researchers report.
The new foam wiped out more than twice as much bacteria as a traditional
hand gel, says Duane Charbonneau, PhD, a research fellow at Procter &
Gamble, which is developing the product and funded the work.
The new product, which is low in alcohol, has triclosan, an antimicrobial
used in toothpaste and hand creams, as its active ingredient.
"It's no substitute for hand washing, but it provides a good way to
fight off bugs when soap and water are not available," Charbonneau tells
The research was presented at a meeting of the American Society for
Bacteria Levels Drop
The study included 16 volunteers. After they washed with soap and water,
they were asked to hold a raw chicken in their hands. Then, they placed their
palms onto the surface of a Petri dish and the researchers measured the amount
Then the process was repeated, with one change. Before they put their hand
on the Petri dish, they cleansed with an alcohol gel.
Results showed the level of bacteria was 30% lower than when the gel wasn't
The third time around the new foam was substituted for the alcohol gel. This
time bacteria levels dropped 75%.
A second study showed that the new hand foam continues to fight germs for up
to three hours after administration.
That's longer than typically would be expected with hand sanitizers that
utilize alcohol as the active ingredient, Charbonneau says.
Larry Pickering, MD, an infectious disease specialist at the CDC in Atlanta,
tells WebMD, "It looks like this cuts through the grease."
Hand sanitizers are particularly useful in hospitals, day care centers, and
other bacteria-rich locations, especially when soap and water isn't readily
available, he adds.