ILLNESS OUTBREAK FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

+ Are PURELL® Hand Sanitizer products effective against the flu?

The FDA does not allow hand sanitizer brands to make viral claims, but from a scientific perspective, influenza is an enveloped virus. Enveloped viruses in general are easily killed or inactivated by alcohol. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are recommending the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer as a preventive measure for flu prevention.

PURELL® Hand Sanitizer Frequently asked queStions

+ Is it safe and effective to use PURELL® Hand Sanitizer?

Yes. PURELL® Hand Sanitizer products are safe and effective when used as directed. Ethyl alcohol, the active ingredient in PURELL® Hand Sanitizer, has been used safely by the public for decades and is one of the safest and most effective antimicrobial ingredients known. Numerous studies prove the safety and effectiveness of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, like PURELL® Hand Sanitizer. These studies include:

Study: Effect of hand sanitizer use on elementary school absenteeism.

Results: The overall reduction in absenteeism due to infection in the schools included in this study was 19.8% for schools that used an alcohol gel hand sanitizer compared with the control schools.1

Study: The effect of a comprehensive handwashing program on absenteeism in elementary schools.

Results: Two hundred ninety students from five independent schools were enrolled in the study. Each test classroom had a control classroom, and only the test classroom received the intervention (education program and hand sanitizer). Absenteeism data was collected for 3 months. The number of absences was 50.6% lower in the test group.2

Study: The effect of hand hygiene on illness rate among students in university residence halls.

Results: The overall increase in hand-hygiene behavior and reduction in symptoms, illness rates, and absenteeism between the product group and control group was statistically significant. Reductions in upper respiratory-illness symptoms ranged from 14.8% to 39.9%. Total improvement in illness rate was 20%. The product group had 43% less missed school/work days.3

Study: Alcohol-based Instant hand sanitizer use in military settings - a prospective cohort study of army basic trainees.

Results: When compared to the control group, intervention groups experienced 40% less respiratory illness (p < 0.001), 48% less gastrointestinal illness (p < 0.02), 44% less lost training time (p < 0.001), and 31% fewer health care encounters (p < 0.001).4

Study: Impact of a Comprehensive Workplace Hand Hygiene Program on Employer Healthcare Insurance Claims and Costs, Absenteeism and Employee Perceptions and Practices

Results: Hygiene-preventable health care claims were significantly reduced in the intervention group by over 20% (P < 0.05). Absenteeism was positively impacted overall for the intervention group. Employee survey data showed significant improvements in hand hygiene behavior and perception of company concern for employee well-being.5

  1. Hammond, B, Ali, Y., Fendler, E., Dolan, M. Donvoan, S. Effect of hand sanitizer on elementary school absenteeism. http://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(00)84010-9/abstract
  2. Guinan, M., McGukin, M., Ali, Y., The effect of a comprehensive handwashing program on absenteeism in elementary schools. http://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(02)68131-3/abstract
  3. White, C., Koble, R., Carlson, R., Lipson, N., Dolan, M., Ali, Y., Cline, M., The effect of hand hygiene on illness among students in university residence halls. http://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553%2803%2900041-5/abstract
  4. Mott, Maj. Peter, Sisk, Maj. Brian, Arbogast, J., Ferrazzano-Yaussy, C., Bondi, C., Sheehan, LTC J. Alcohol-based instant hand sanitizer use in military settings: a prospective cohort study of Army basic trainees. http://publications.amsus.org/doi/10.7205/MILMED.172.11.1170
  5. Arbogast, J., Moore-Schitz, L., Jarvis, W., Harpster-Hagan, A., Hughes, J., Parker, A., Impact of a Comprehensive Workplace Hand Hygiene Program on Employer Health Care Insurance Claims and Costs, Absenteeism, and Employee Perceptions and Practices. http://journals.lww.com/joem/Fulltext/2016/06000/Impact_of_a_Comprehensive_Workplace_Hand_Hygiene.25.aspx

+ Can I use PURELL® Hand Sanitizer safely multiple times a day?

Yes. Numerous studies support the safety of long-term, repeated use of PURELL® Hand Sanitizers. It is critical to practice good hand hygiene at key moments, such as before eating, after using the restroom and after touching objects that are frequently touched by others.1

  1. Scientific Studies, GOJO Hand Hygiene Hub http://www.gojo.com/Corporate-Hand-Hygiene-Hub/Scientific-Studies

+ Is it better to use plain soap and water?

Both handwashing and hand sanitizing are effective measures to help prevent the spread of germs that may cause illness. What has been proven in hospitals is that a well-formulated alcohol-based hand sanitizers, like PURELL® Hand Sanitizers, are better than plain soap and water at reducing bacterial counts on hands and are less drying and irritating.1

  1. http://www.cdc.gov/handhygiene/pdfs/provider-factsheet-508.pdf

+ Do PURELL® Hand Sanitizers cause supergerms?

No. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers kill germs in a different way than antibiotics, and they are not left behind to let the germs either become resistant or become what some people call “supergerms.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no chance for the germs to adapt or develop resistance to an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, even with frequent use.1

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings. Retrieved June 2, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/handhygiene/science/index.html

+ Do all hand sanitizers work the same?

No. When it comes to hand sanitizing products, formulation matters. The active ingredient is important but the total formulation affects the product’s effectiveness. The product also has to deliver good skin care performance and be likeable to use.

+ Does PURELL® Hand Sanitizer really kill 99.99% of illness-causing germs?

Yes. PURELL® Hand Sanitizer products are tested against a broad spectrum of micro-organisms and have resulted in more than 99.99% reduction of those organisms. It is prohibited by the Food and Drug Administration for manufacturers to make viral reduction claims.

+ Is it safe for my children to use PURELL® Hand Sanitizer?

Yes, PURELL® Hand Sanitizer is safe and effective for everyone. It is important for all of us to practice healthy behaviors like hand hygiene, which includes using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, such as PURELL® Hand Sanitizer. Children under 6 years of age should be supervised when using any PURELL™ product.

+ Is PURELL® Hand Sanitizer drying to the hands?

No. There is a misperception that the frequent use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers will dry out your hands on your skin. The truth is that formulation matters. PURELL® Hand Sanitizer has been developed to be used repeatedly without damaging the skin. In fact, studies show PURELL® Hand Sanitizer is gentler on hands than soap and water because it does not strip natural lipids away from hands.1

  1. Boyce JM, Kellher, S., Vallande N. Skin irritation and dryness associated with two hand hygiene regimens: soap and water handwashing versus hand antisepsis with an alcoholic hand gel. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 21:442-448,2000.

+ Does PURELL® Hand Sanitizer contain triclosan?

No. PURELL® Hand Sanitizer does not contain triclosan. The active ingredient in PURELL® Hand Sanitizer is ethyl alcohol.

+ Does PURELL® Hand Sanitizer contain bisphenol A (BPA)?

No. BPA is not an ingredient in PURELL® Hand Sanitizer. Alcohol is the active ingredient in PURELL® Hand Sanitizer.

+ Does PURELL® Hand Sanitizer kill the resident germs and transient germs on your hands?

Germs live all around us. Our bodies are covered with germs that help us stay healthy. These are considered "resident or potentially harmless" bacteria and, they reside on and in the body. In addition to the resident bacteria, we are also exposed to ones that we pick up from contact with other people or objects. These are called transient bacteria. It is these germs that are often responsible for making you sick. PURELL® Hand Sanitizer reduces some of your resident bacteria while eliminating the transient bacteria on the top layer of your hands. Your body quickly regenerates your resident bacteria.

+ Why does PURELL® Hand Sanitizer contain alcohol?

Ethyl alcohol is one of the safest and most effective antiseptic ingredients. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that the general public use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.

+ How is PURELL® Hand Sanitizer used?

As with all over-the-counter products, it is important to use PURELL® Hand Sanitizer products properly and according to the instructions on the label: wet hands thoroughly with product, and briskly rub hands together until dry. Adults should always supervise children in the use of the product. It is important to use PURELL® Hand Sanitizer at key moments throughout the day such as before eating, after caring for someone that is ill, after using the restroom and after touching objects touched by many different hands, for example, the grocery cart handle, the subway pole and elevator buttons.

+ Does using PURELL® Hand Sanitizer lead to resistant bacteria?

No, this is a misconception. Using PURELL® Hand Sanitizer does not contribute to the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria, as the overuse of antibiotics does. Ethyl alcohol, the active ingredient in PURELL® Hand Sanitizer rapidly destroys the cell membranes and dissolves cell proteins. It evaporates quickly leaving nothing behind to let germs become resistant. According to the CDC Clean Hands Count Campaign, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers does NOT cause antibiotic resistance. Healthy habits like good hand hygiene help reduce the spread of illness-causing germs. Staying healthy reduces the need to use prescription antibiotics; so ultimately, alcohol-based hand sanitizers play an important role in reducing antibiotic resistance.

+ What does the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say about alcohol-based hand sanitizers?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty. For more information on the CDC Hand Hygiene recommendations, visit www.cdc.gov/handwashing.

+ How many uses are in a 2 fl. oz. bottle of PURELL® Hand Sanitizer?

If used as directed, which is to apply enough PURELL® Hand Sanitizer to thoroughly wet hands, a consumer can get 29-30 uses out of a 2 fl. oz. bottle.

+ When is it especially important to practice good hand hygiene?

Practicing good hand hygiene is especially important:

  • After using the bathroom
  • Before eating or drinking anything
  • Before and after handling raw foods, fish, poultry, or eggs
  • After using a public phone
  • After riding public transportation
  • In schools and day care centers
  • After changing diapers
  • When one is sick
  • After shaking hands
  • After sneezing or coughing
  • After touching an ATM, elevator buttons or escalator handrails

+ What does GOJO do to discourage misuse by ingestion in its PURELL® Hand Sanitizer products?

PURELL® Hand Sanitizer contains bitter, unpleasant-tasting ingredients that make it undesirable to drink. We add the unpleasant taste to all PURELL™ products to discourage ingestion. Labels on PURELL Hand Sanitizer provide instructions to follow in the event of ingestion. Label instructions state: "If swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away." Consistent with best practices for all products used around children, always supervise PURELL® Hand Sanitizer use by children under six years of age or those whose judgment may be impaired. The benefits of alcohol-based hand sanitizers for safeguarding public health are well-documented in many settings.

+ What should be done if PURELL® Hand Sanitizer is ingested?

Labels on all PURELL™ products provide instructions to follow in the event of ingestion. Label instructions state: "If swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away."

PURELL™ Surface Spray Frequently Asked Questions

+ Does GOJO make surface disinfecting and sanitizing products?

Yes. GOJO introduced PURELL™ Surface Disinfecting and Sanitizing Products in September 2016. The three products include PURELL™ Foodservice Surface Sanitizer, PURELL™ Healthcare Surface Disinfectant and PURELL™ Professional Surface Disinfectant.

+ What is the difference between each of the different PURELL™ Surface Sprays?

GOJO launched three surface sprays for the foodservice, healthcare and professional markets due to both regulatory guidelines and market-specific product requirements. The EPA requires that the product be labeled for the manner in which it will be used. Secondly, each market has unique needs and requirements. Benefits of each PURELL™ Surface Sprays include:

The PURELL™ Foodservice Surface Sanitizer

  • Formulated for Food Contact Surfaces: No rinse required on food contact surfaces, NSF certified D2 classification
  • Rapid Germ Kill Time: Eliminates Norovirus, Salmonella and E. coli in 30 seconds
  • Easy-To-Use: Patented 1-step sanitizer and cleaner
  • Powerful Peace of Mind: No precautionary statements; no handwashing , gloves or safety glasses required.
  • Multi-Surface Performance: Proven across most hard and soft surfaces
  • Fragrance-Free – No harsh fumes. Gives peace of mind for use around patrons and food

The PURELL™ Healthcare Surface Disinfectant

  • Rapid Germ Kill Time: 30-second disinfection for MRSA, VRE and Norovirus
  • Powerful Peace of Mind: Fragrance-free formulation delivers efficacy without the strong, lingering odor of bleaches and hydrogen peroxide. Ideal for use around patients
  • Easy-To-Use: Patented 1-step disinfectant and cleaner
  • Multi-Surface Performance: Proven performance across most hard and soft surfaces

PURELL™ Professional Surface Disinfectant

  • Powerful Peace of Mind: Tough enough to kill 99.99% of germs on surfaces, including the cold and flu virus, yet gentle enough for children’s toys
  • Easy-To-Use: Patented 1-step disinfectant and cleaner
  • PURELL TOUCHABLE® Technology: No rinse required on food contact surfaces; no handwashing, gloves or safety glasses required, no harsh fumes and no precautionary statements
  • EPA Design for the Environment Certified: Delivers the fastest overall disinfection times of any Design for the Environment (DfE) product
  • Fragranced – Light, refreshing citrus fragrance

+ What is the active ingredient in the PURELL™ Surface Disinfecting and Sanitizing Products?

The active ingredient in PURELL™ Surface Spray products is ethyl alcohol.

+ What is unique about PURELL™ Surface Sprays?

There are no trade-offs with PURELL™ Surface Sprays. PURELL™ Surface Sprays are certified by the EPA Design for Environment and have the EPA lowest toxicity rating and the fastest overall disinfection times for bacteria and viruses than any other DfE product. This includes a powerful germ kill for 22 organisms, including MRSA, cold and flu virus and norovirus within 30 seconds.

+ Are PURELL™ Surface Spray products safe for people and the environment?

Yes. The expansion of PURELL™ products into the surface disinfecting and sanitizing category reflects the GOJO commitment to deliver the best well-being solutions for people, surfaces and the environment. PURELL™ Surface Sprays have the lowest EPA toxicity rating, Category IV and the Design for the Environment Certification. Out of the 3,000 EPA registered surface disinfectants and sanitizers, less than 100 have the EPA’s Category IV lowest toxicity rating. Of those, less than 10 have the EPA’s Design for the Environment (DfE) Certification.

+ Are the PURELL™ Surface Sprays regulated by the FDA or EPA?

The PURELL™ Surface Sprays are regulated by the EPA.

+ What does no rinse food contact surface sanitizer mean?

All of the PURELL™ Surface Sprays can be used on surfaces where consumable food products are placed and stored including food preparation counters, dishes and cooking utensils, equipment and utensils found in dairies, food processing plants and eating and drinking establishments. The no rinse food contact formulation provides a 99.999% bacterial reduction and does not require a rinse-step whether it is used on food contact surfaces or not.

+ What organisms do the new PURELL™ Surface Sprays kill?

PURELL™ Surface Sprays rapidly eliminate 27 organisms with 30-second disinfection on 22 organisms including MRSA, Flu, VRE and Norovirus.

+ Are PURELL™ Surface Sprays effective on soft and hard surfaces?

Yes, PURELL™ Surface Sprays have proven compatibility with most common hard and soft surfaces. Each product label provides a short list of surfaces and materials the product was formulated for use on, including:

Hard Nonporous Surface Materials

  • Acrylic
  • Chrome
  • Glass
  • Glazed tile
  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Stainless steel
  • Vinyl
  • Non-alcohol soluble finished wood (wax, polyurethane)

Soft Surfaces

  • Chairs
  • Cotton/polyester blend fabriccs and textiles
  • Couches
  • Curtains
  • Upholstered furniture
  • Mats
  • Throw Rugs
  • Towels
  • Mattresses
  • Linens

View product labels for a more complete list of surfaces

+ Are there any surfaces on which I should not use PURELL™ Surface Sprays?

You shouldn’t use PURELL™ Surface Spray on surfaces that have an oxidizing agent, like brass, copper and aluminum. Also avoid older, alcohol soluble finished wood. If you’re unsure, always test a small inconspicuous area prior to broad use.

+ Do the PURELL™ Surface Sprays kill mold or mildew?

Yes, PURELL™ Surface Sprays are registered with the EPA as a fungicide, meaning they are able to eliminate mold and mildew.

+ What does PURELL TOUCHABLE® Technology mean?

PURELL TOUCHABLE® Technology means that you can safely touch surfaces right after they have been disinfected with PURELL™ Surface Disinfecting and Sanitizing Sprays. No rinsing is required, even for surfaces like food prep counters. Food can be safely prepared right after the surface has been disinfected. Users of the products can safely disinfect surfaces without using gloves or safety glasses. They also do not need to wash their hands after disinfecting surfaces.

+ Are PURELL™ Surface Sprays safe to use around children?

Yes. Out of the 3,000 EPA registered surface disinfectants and sanitizers, less than 100 have the EPA’s Category IV lowest toxicity rating, and of those, less than 10 have the EPA’s Design for the Environment (DfE) Certification. With no harsh chemicals, the disinfectant is formulated with ethyl alcohol, the same active ingredient in PURELL® Hand Sanitizer. The new surface disinfectant delivers the fastest overall disinfection times of a Design for the Environment product.

+ Does the product create antimicrobial resistance?

No. Using PURELL™ Surface Sprays do not contribute to the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria, as the overuse of antibiotics does. Ethyl alcohol, the active ingredient in PURELL™ Surface Spray rapidly destroys the cell membranes and dissolves cell proteins. It evaporates quickly leaving nothing behind to let germs become resistant.

+ What does the lowest EPA toxicity rating mean?

The EPA uses a product’s toxicology data to determine its hazard category rating. PURELL™ Surface Sprays were categorized as Category IV, which is the lowest toxicity rating and therefore does NOT require precautionary statements on label, such as DANGER, WARNING, CAUTION or Hazard to Humans and Domestic Animals.

+ Where do I find more information about PURELL™ Surface Sprays?

You can find additional information at www.PURELLsurface.com.