Pump, scrub, repeat: Should we be concerned about all this hand sanitizer?

An individual uses a portable bottle of hand sanitizer outside. (Shutterstock)

Early in the pandemic, the world was told that COVID-19 could spread by surface contact in addition to through water droplets, leading to a surge in sales for hand sanitizer. Breweries and distilleries completely overhauled their operations to make it and the product couldn’t stay on the shelves—leading to a at least a few instances of price gauging at larger retailers.

A year and a half later the product is still perceived as a staple for preventing the spread of COVID-19 alongside masks and physical distancing. Customers sanitize upon entering restaurants and retail stores, before and after using transit and sometimes in the middle of group gatherings.

But should people be concerned about the excessive use of hand sanitizer?

That’s what the premiere episode of Life Unmasked hopes to uncover. James Scott, a professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, joins the team to talk about if hand sanitizer was overused, any health or environmental impacts, and if its use is a trend we see continue after the pandemic is long gone.

Life Unmasked will air first on the iHeart app on Thursday mornings before becoming available on other streaming platforms. If you have questions for the podcast team, or idea for an episode, please email lifeunmasked@bellmedia.ca.