You use hand sanitizer, but does it really help? First, hand sanitizer is NOT an alternative to washing your hands with soap and water. It's quick and convenient as it often has a form of alcohol which works as an antiseptic. Other ingredients could include water, fragrance, and glycerin.
Non-alcohol based hand sanitizers contain an antibiotic compound called triclosan or triclocarban and are often labeled antibacterial, antimicrobial, or antiseptic. The US Food and Drug Administration says triclosan could carry unnecessary risks and studies are ongoing.
If you make a habit of frequently using hand sanitizer, you should be aware of the dangers.
Here are some hidden dangers of hand sanitizer that you may not know about, but should...they are effective against bacteria, but what happens if your body builds up resistance to antibiotics, and in turn promotes resistance to bacteria?
Triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics and its constant use may actually lower your resistance to diseases. One 2011 study found that health care employees who were most likely to use hand sanitizers over soap and water for routine hand washing were nearly six times more at risk for outbreaks of norovirus, which causes most cases of acute gastroenteritis. Just because it doesn't have triclosan, doesn't meant it's completely safe.
A few squirts of hand sanitizer could equal a couple of shots of hard liquor, so some teenagers have been drinking it and poisoning themselves.
Another effect of triclosan is it may lead to hormonal disruptions and cause bacteria to adapt to its antimicrobial properties, which create more antibiotic-resistant strains. This can also harm the immune system.
Some hand sanitizers are loaded with toxic chemicals. Synthetic fragrances contain phthalates, which are endocrine disrupters that mimic hormones and could alter genital development. You should also look out for parabens, which are in many skin care products. They are used to preserve other ingredients and extend a product's shelf life.
In any case, in a restaurant you probably don't think much the silverware you use to scoop up food and put it into your mouth.
Researchers at Ohio State University conducted studies proving that odds are high that a gastroenteritis-causing virus is present on all public silverware, even after they've been washed and dried. That should not be a cause for panic though; it's not realistic to think we can kill all the bacteria and viruses in the world.
But, just how filthy is that fork?
The Ohio State study found that it didn't matter whether silverware was hand-washed or run through a dishwasher; the virus which is the cause of 90 percent of epidemic gastroenteritis cases wasn't killed! The study claimed that viruses were left on the cutlery, ceramic dishes and drinking glasses after washing. They don't make everyone sick, but they do pose a threat to your immune system.
If the tables are sticky bacteria thrives on surfaces that aren't properly cleaned, and where bacteria live, viruses follow. Also take note of what materials are used to clean everything. That rag used to wipe tables down is probably filthy. Salt and pepper and bottles of ketchup and mustard are another source of filth and germs. And menus… they carry the most germs. According to one study, nearly 16 times that of the second most germ-infested items, salt and pepper shakers.
Sick employees are another problem because 53 percent of food workers reported going to work when sick. Even if employees are wearing plastic gloves, that's no guarantee. Touching one food, say raw pork, then moving along and touching another food means the gloves become the vehicle for contamination.
Check out the bathroom. If it's filthy just imagine how dirty the kitchen is. Just because employees must wash their hands (and they ALWAYS do, right?) before returning to work doesn’t mean you are safe.
Remember, when you sit down at a table, you’re one of thousands of people who’ve eaten in this exact spot. The glassware, plates, and silverware are run through the dishwasher, but all the other stuff you come in contact with, like tables, chairs, and menus are rarely thoroughly cleaned.
The dirtiest things in every restaurant are:
Toilets: there are 295 bacteria on every square inch of the toilet seat, and 3.2 million inside the bowl itself.
Ice: investigators in fast food restaurants in the US found that 70 percent of the ice in the ice machine contained more bacteria than the water in the toilet!!
Salt and pepper shakers
Salad bar tongs