Hand Sanitizer

Biosyn Non-Alcohol Hand Sanitizers, custom blended to the customers needs under the BioSyn patented process, use BKC (benzalkonium chloride) as the active ingredient and are just as effective if not more effective than alcohol based hand sanitizers, due to better residual activity and less skin irritation. Typical Alcohol based hand sanitizers can kill micro-organisms in 15 seconds then immediately stops being effective, whereas Biosyn's BKC non-alcohol hand sanitizer kills bacteria in  seconds and continues to be effective for several hours. Alcohol free hand sanitizers are accepted by the FDA and WHO as an effective alternative to alcohol based hand sanitizers, and some argue that they should be considered a safer alternative in many ways:

  • Reduced Fire Risk:  Alcohol based hand sanitizers are flammable.  Not only does storing gallons of flammable liquid pose a safety risk, it is also a logistical nightmare.  In many settings, such as healthcare, the facility is limited on how many gallons can be stored or used in a smoke corridor. 

  • Reduced Skin Damage:  When frequent hand sanitizing is required, using the right product matters.  Exposing the skin to constant doses of alcohol, strips away the skins healthy natural oils that protect the skin.  This process can be extremely irritating and drying for some individuals.  To make maters worse, when the skin is dry and cracked, the bodies protective barrier is compromised, leading to skin infections.  Biosyn's alcohol free hand sanitizers help prevent the drying and cracking of the skin, keeping the skin's integrity intact.

  • Reduced Ingestion Toxicity:  In certain settings, such as behavioral health facilities, schools, jails and police precincts, alcohol based hand sanitizers pose a serious safety risk.  Occupants, battling addiction are prone to ingest alcohol based sanitizer, school age "dare" incidents flaming their skin or a police precinct interaction are far too common.  Ingesting alcohol based hand sanitizer, can be extremely dangerous.  Providing an alcohol free hand sanitizer, like BZK is a safer option.

The Science

Published studies report that benzalkonium chloride-based hand sanitizers demonstrated greater sustained antibacterial activity than gelled alcohol-based hand sanitizers.  Furthermore, gelled alcohol hand sanitizers actually became less effective with repeated use and made the skin dirtier, not cleaner, due to removal of protective natural skin oils and entrapment of dead skin cells by the polymer thickeners used in the gelled alcohol-based products.

 

 

In Studies

  • Benzalkonium chloride-based hand sanitizers had a greater sustained antibacterial activity than alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers became less effective with repeated use and irritated the hands of subjects.

  • Benzalkonium chloride-based hand sanitizers became more effective without irritation after repeated use.

The Evidence

Abstract

Universal precautions require that perioperative health care personnel wash their hands before and after all patient contact. Time constraints, however, can make adhering to universal precautions, including proper hand washing, difficult. Some perioperative health care workers, therefore, routinely use rinse-free hand sanitizers to supplement normal hand washing. This study evaluated immediate and persistent antimicrobial effectiveness of two alcohol containing hand sanitizers and a novel surfactant allantoin, benzalkonium chloride (BZK) hand sanitizer using a federally approved effectiveness protocol. Results Indicate that all three products were equally effective after a single application. After repeated use, the alcohol-containing sanitizers did not meet federal performance standards, and the alcohol-free sanitizer did. These properties and others Illustrated in this article indicate that the nonflammable, alcohol-free BZK hand sanitizer is the-most favorable of the rinse-free hand sanitizer formulas for normal hand washing.

In the referenced study to simulate repeated usage, alcohol-based and alcohol-free benzalkonium chloride-based hand sanitizers were compared. In the study, subject’s hands were repeatedly inoculated with bacteria followed by application of hand sanitizer, then evaluated for antimicrobial effectiveness. The antimicrobial efficacy of the alcohol-based hand sanitizer showed a markedly decreased antimicrobial efficacy with subsequent contamination and decontamination cycles, whereas the alcohol-free benzalkonium chloride-based hand sanitizer showed a steady increase in antibacterial efficacy.

In addition to these objective results, subjects were asked to subjectively evaluate the condition of their hands after the completion of the test protocol. 47% of the subjects who had completed the test protocol with the alcohol-based hand sanitizer reported palmar pain or discomfort, and tended to indicate some discomfort in palmar surfaces for one to several days after the test. In contrast, none of the subjects that used the alcohol-free benzalkonium chloride-based formula reported any pain or discomfort of their hands after completing the test protocol. Additionally, benzalkonium chloride-based hand sanitizers deliver 2 to 4 hours of residual protection.

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History

Benzalkonium chloride is an alcohol-free antimicrobial compound that has been widely used in the health care industry for more than 60 years in formulas for preservatives, surface cleaners, sterilizing agents, and leave-on, FDA Monograph anti-bacterial skin treatment products. The chemical properties of benzalkonium chloride make it a good candidate for persistent antimicrobial activity in mammalian tissue.

Efficacy

From an effectiveness and residual activity standpoint,  Alcohol-based hand sanitizers stop working the instant they dry. The leading manufacturer of alcohol-based hand sanitizers claims that their product kills 99.99% of most common germs that may cause disease in as little as 15 seconds. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers dry in 8-10 seconds, and fall below the efficacious concentration of alcohol in seconds. It has been reported that alcohol-based hand sanitizers offer no residual protection, and that if your hands feel dry after rubbing them together for 15 seconds, an insufficient volume of alcohol gel was likely applied.

BZK based alcohol free hand sanitizer dries fast, but 10 seconds slower than alcohol-based hand sanitizers allowing more than the minimum contact time for complete efficacious coverage, including under fingernails. Additionally, benzalkonium chloride-based hand sanitizers deliver 2 to 4 hours of residual protection.

Summary
Benzalkonium chloride-based hand sanitizers had a greater sustained antibacterial activity than alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers became less effective with repeated use and irritated the hands of subjects. Benzalkonium chloride-based hand sanitizers became more effective without irritation after repeated use.

  1. Marples, RR, & Towers, AG (1979). A laboratory model for the investigation of contact transfer of microorganisms. The Journal of Hygiene, 82(2), 237-248.

  2. Dyer, DL, & Wadhams, PS (1998). Testing a new, alcohol-free sanitizer to combat infection. Association of Operating Room Nurses Journal, 68(2), 239-251.

  3. DL Dyer, AL Shinder & FS Shinder (2000). Alcohol-free instant hand sanitizer reduces illness absenteeism. Family Medicine, 32(9), 633-638;CG

  4. White, FS Shinder, AL Shinder & DL Dyer (2001). Reduction of Illness Absenteeism in Elementary Schools Using an Alcohol-free Instant Hand Sanitizer. The Journal of School Nursing, 17(5), 258-265.

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  7. J Cross, “Introduction to cationic surfactants,” in Cationic Surfactants: Analytical and Biological Evaluation, ed J Cross, EJ Singer (New York: Marcel Dekker, 1994) 4-28.