BILTHOVEN – RIVM once again calls on to wash hands with soap and water and to use hand gel only if there is no other option. As someone uses more hand gel with ethanol, the risk of breast cancer increases “very slightly”, reports the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment.
The use of the stuff took off due to the corona crisis. Ethanol or alcohol is a chemical that can kill bacteria and viruses and in principle cause serious diseases.
Women who do not use ethanol hand sanitizers have about a 143,000 in 1,000,000 chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetime. Women who use hand sanitizer ten times a day for a year have a 143,006 in 1,000,000 chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetime, the institute calculated.
The risks for people who come into frequent contact with hand gels professionally, such as in healthcare, were also examined. The risk of breast cancer among them is slightly higher than among consumers, according to the RIVM. If they use ethanol hand gel 25 times a day for a year, there is a 143,015 in 1,000,000 chance of getting breast cancer
“Wash your hands with soap and water. This is the best way to remove pathogens. Only use disinfecting hand gel when there is no place to wash your hands with soap and water for a longer period of time and in certain work settings,” says RIVM again.
At the request of the Ministries of Health and Social Affairs, RIVM has investigated the health risks of ethanol-containing hand gels. The results further show that the increased use of ethanol hand gel does not cause colon cancer or reduced fertility.