November 28, 2021, 06:38:32 AM
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Topic: 99% alcohol skin absorption?  (Read 226 times)

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Offline beebug

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99% alcohol skin absorption?
« on: September 29, 2021, 12:30:21 PM »
Hello! No real science background here. Just a common folk!

My daughters day camp was using a spritz bottle filled with 99% isopropyl alcohol to spray on the children’s hands to “disinfect.” My kid is 3 years old.

I read that isopropyl alcohol is highly absorbed through the skin and makes its way into the blood stream.

This freaked me out, as we are talking about a 3 year old here. The last thing I want to think about is potential toxic or other health effects.

Is this true? Or because of the fact that it is nearly 100% it is not absorbed but instead evaporates before it has a chance to make its way into the body?

Also, how likely is inhalation if spritzed once or twice on the hands at arms length?

Why can’t people just wash their hands with soap and water????

 ::) ::)

Offline Corribus

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Re: 99% alcohol skin absorption?
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2021, 01:21:41 PM »
Isopropyl alcohol is absorbed through the skin, although a simulation of occupational usage in a hospital environment showed that blood concentration of isopropyl alcohol was low, about 2% the level that would be required to see intoxication. Though this was in adults.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195670104000131

The actual exposure (absorbed dose) will depend a lot on the frequency of use.

I don't know that I'd be personally worried (I'm also a parent) but if you have concerns you might consider asking the daycare center to use something else. Or ask your pediatrician what they think. You may also point out that pure isopropyl is less effective of a sanitizing agent than isopropyl diluted to about 70% with water.

As to why they use it instead of soap, that's obvious - you don't need a sink and it leaves no residue, just like with hand sanitizer. I guess at least hand sanitizer is not aerosolized, but again in a well ventilated space with occasional usage, I wouldn't personally be worried about it.
What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were like a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?  - Richard P. Feynman

Offline rolnor

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Re: 99% alcohol skin absorption?
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2021, 04:18:31 PM »
It feels wrong to expose a such small child to organic solvent on a daily basis, is this really necessary? I can not think of any sensible reason.

Offline beebug

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Re: 99% alcohol skin absorption?
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2021, 05:16:40 PM »
It feels wrong to expose a such small child to organic solvent on a daily basis, is this really necessary? I can not think of any sensible reason.
Neither do I. Unfortunately some camps and daycares do it. I’m just concerned about breathing in the alcohol and also skin absorption. I avoid is for my child as much as I possibly can. I didn’t even know this 99% isopropyl alcohol spraying was happening until I asked if they are using anything for the kids when indoors. Apparently in the summer they were using the standard 70% on their hands in gel form. Again, I had no clue. I would have just asked for them to use baby wipes or wash her hands instead.

Offline rolnor

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Re: 99% alcohol skin absorption?
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2021, 06:47:03 PM »
I also strongly think that the toxicity studies of isopropanol in humans are very likely not conducted on 3-year old children so we dont know anything at all really how they can be affected. Tell them to use soap.

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