Purell has come to be a commonly used household brand in homes, schools, and public facilities alike. It’s probably safe to say that this brand name is the first thing that comes to mind the instant one hears the phrase “hand sanitizer.” However, most of these same people are oblivious to the contents of Purell. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration, more commonly known as OSHA, is a federal agency whose responsibility is to enforce safety and health regulations for institutions across America. Due to the high alcohol content found in particular brands of hand sanitizer, OSHA has banned these particular products for not meeting the necessary safety and health standards.
You may be wondering at this point whether or not our school will now be forced dispose of the numerous Purell dispensers scattered all throughout various hallways and rooms. West’s administration is actually not responsible for the providing of the specific Purell OSHA means to prohibit, and every push dispenser you see throughout your school or work day contains a foam-like liquid with far less alcohol than OSHA’s threshold of roughly 60 percent alcohol. Alcohol content, as previously stated, is the primary underlying concern of OSHA regarding its decision. Does OSHA believe students will abuse this substance through consumption, as a way to get intoxicated? Not likely, but conventional non-foam Purell sanitizers have an approximate ethanol composition of 70%, which poses as a potential danger nonetheless. Fortunately, the concentration of alcohol found in most hand sanitizer products is much higher than in those that are school-funded. Therefore, the problem presents itself to individuals who routinely bring with them to school a form of the Purell beyond the acceptable measure of alcohol found in other hand sanitizers.
Dr. Catapano, in regards to this recent ban, states, “While it is important to have a sense of consistency and uniformity throughout our school, ridding the school of this Purell can be a minor inconvenience. However, people who did previously use the form of Purell now banned can certainly find replacements. Overall, it is what it is.”
Our school nurse Stephanie expresses her opinion, “As a school nurse, I have always been an advocate for ‘universal precautions,’ which is a hospital protocol for disease prevention, also known as hand-washing. Best form of prevention. I don’t believe that Purell is equal to the universal precaution of hand-washing, although the manufacturers would like you to believe it’s the same.”
This recent ban has raised questions among the student and faculty alike as it is has become normal for students to bring Purell products to school. If you are uncertain as to whether or not a particular product of hand sanitizer is appropriate to bring to school, look for a product below the alcohol threshold of approximately 60 percent. However, it is important to recognize that despite this ban, proper hygiene and sanitation is still an essential factor in containing the spread of germs and illnesses.