Hand sanitizers are often selected by label kill-claims and alcohol level. Those numbers conceal compelling, decision-making scientific facts, verified by some of our leading universities.
First, there is the common misstatement claiming that alcohol hand sanitizers are ineffective on norovirus, one of the leading causes of outbreaks and deaths in nursing homes. A properly formulated rub shows at least a 99% kill, hardly considered ineffective. Using other test methods and synergized formulations, a 70% alcohol level tests as high as 99.999%.
So, why don’t manufactures put this on the label? Because norovirus can’t be cultured in the lab, making the only source from infected humans. This, together with the FDA’s choice of test methods, drives research costs completely out of sight. This regulatory demand for an over-rigorous test method suppresses the use of hand sanitizers in the norovirus battle.
Second, formulating hand sanitizers is not as simple as filling a bottle with a solution of 70% alcohol. This single graph from an Emory University study demonstrates the wide range of effectiveness for high-level alcohol formulations, debunking both these myths.
The choice of hand sanitizer must be based on all the facts, not on the limited label information.