Grocery stores, schools, airports, restaurants – germs are everywhere. Many men and women alike keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer handy in hopes of killing germs and reducing their chances of getting sick. They come in many different shapes, sizes and scents, and it turns out that hand sanitizer may also be increasing your risk of developing thyroid cancer treatment.
You’re probably at least semi-aware that there are chemicals in hand sanitizer, but you may have never given a second thought as to how these chemicals may be affecting you, until now. According to a study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, chemical hand sanitizer can triple your risk of developing thyroid cancer.
The Study – thyroid cancer treatment
Researchers reviewed data from over 900 patients to conduct their study. They compared 462 adults with thyroid cancer in 2010 and 2011 to 498 control subjects. They calculated exposure to biocide chemicals based on reported use and detailed information regarding occupational exposures. Patients who work in medicine or cleaning – jobs such as healthcare providers in hospitals, home assistants and professional building cleaners – were found to have the highest biocide exposure.
The study showed that women with any occupational exposure at all were 48% more likely to develop thyroid cancer, while men with any occupational exposure were 300% more likely to develop thyroid cancer treatment. Overall, the risk of using biocides increased thyroid cancer risk by 65%.
Biocide chemicals are known hormone disruptors, a fact that plays a key role in the study’s findings. For those with the highest cumulative exposures to biocides – jobs that require hand sanitizer use such as health professions – the risk of thyroid cancer more than doubled.
Hand Sanitizer And BPA
This isn’t the first study that has highlighted the potential dangers of hand sanitizer. A study published in the journal PLOS found that eating food after holding a sales receipt and applying hand sanitizer significantly increased the absorption of BPA by the body.
In “BPA and Hand Sanitizer: a Toxic Mix With Serious Health Risks?” Chris Kesser writes, “Hand sanitizers and other skin products (e.g. soaps, sunscreens, lotions) contain “dermal penetration enhancers” that are designed to enhance the delivery of the active ingredients they contain. Previous studies have found that dermal penetration enhancers can increase the absorption of estradiol, a chemical very similar to BPA, by as much as 100-fold.”
BPA has been linked to many diseases, including diabetes, infertility, inflammation, endocrine disruption and even cancer. To minimize your BPA exposure and avoid an increased risk of thyroid cancer, ditch the chemical-based and alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Try using a natural essential oil spray when needed. And of course, using some soap and water to wash your hands can help keep germs away.