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Hand Foam Fights Bacteria Better

Sanitizing Product Under Development Uses Triclosan as Its Active Ingredient

Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on September 19, 2007
From the WebMD Archives

Sept 19, 2007 (Chicago) -- A new hand foam fights bacteria better and longerthan commercially available alcohol gels, researchers report.

The new foam wiped out more than twice as much bacteria as a traditionalhand 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 antimicrobialused in toothpaste and hand creams, as its active ingredient.

"It's no substitute for hand washing, but it provides a good way tofight off bugs when soap and water are not available," Charbonneau tellsWebMD.

The research was presented at a meeting of the American Society forMicrobiology.

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 theirpalms onto the surface of a Petri dish and the researchers measured the amountof bacteria.

Then the process was repeated, with one change. Before they put their handon the Petri dish, they cleansed with an alcohol gel.

Results showed the level of bacteria was 30% lower than when the gel wasn'tused.

The third time around the new foam was substituted for the alcohol gel. Thistime bacteria levels dropped 75%.

A second study showed that the new hand foam continues to fight germs for upto three hours after administration.

That's longer than typically would be expected with hand sanitizers thatutilize 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, andother bacteria-rich locations, especially when soap and water isn't readilyavailable, he adds.

Show Sources

SOURCES: 47th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC), Chicago, Sept. 17-20, 2007. Duane Charbonneau, PhD, research fellow, Procter & Gamble, Mason, Ohio. Larry Pickering, MD, CDC, Atlanta.

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