DermaRite Will Distribute 10,000 Hand Sanitizer Pens To NYC Kids

Maybe this whole MRSA thing has gone too far: Brooklyn state assemblyman Dov Hikind has arranged for the DermaRite corporation, based in New Jersey, to distribute ten thousand units of its gel-based hand sanitizer in a “compact and easy to use” pen-shaped dispenser to city schoolchildren.

“We don’t want to scare parents,” says Hikind. Then he goes on to say, “Tell your children again and again: Wash, Cleanse, Cover.”

“Taking Hand-Sanitizing to a New Level?” [New York Times]
(Photo: Getty)


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  1. Kezzerxir says:

    If that kid is doing that type of math at his age my college is ripping me off.

  2. RvLeshrac says:

    This is, of course, why we’re generating new drug-resistant strains of everything constantly.

    But, you know, feel free to keep sanitizing your kids until their immune systems are so incredibly weak that they die from a cold.

  3. MystiMel says:

    Aren’t wash and cleanse redundant? And what the hell is cover for? Going to put on some gloves to keep your hands clean?

  4. thewriteguy says:

    Hello, Superbugs!

  5. faust1200 says:

    I heard a story about prisoners drinking hand sanitizer to get drunk. There is a boatload of alcohol in most sanitizers. It would be a shame if a child found out HE/SHE COULD GET DRUNK BY DRINKING HAND SANITIZER.

  6. SOhp101 says:

    @Kezzerxir: If you’re doing basic Algebra/Algebra 2 in college, then I really hope you’re going to a community college.

  7. hc5duke says:

    @SOhp101: damn you beat me to it – yeah it looks like your typical high school algebra 2 class to me.

  8. alice_bunnie says:

    Isn’t that what got us here in the first place?

  9. SOhp101 says:

    One of the things that pissed me off about elementary and high school was bathrooms that had those sinks that didn’t stay on without holding down that ‘button’ AND there was never soap in the soap dispenser.

    Try making it not so damn hard to wash your hands in a public place and maybe people will actually do it.

  10. BigNutty says:

    Are they implying New York needs protection? What happened to parents teaching their kids how to wash their hands?

  11. @SOhp101: For real. I teach this to my sixth graders over the summer.

    And yes, it is insanely paranoid to make sure EVERY school child has their own supply of sanitizer.

  12. I should add: as a teacher, you wouldn’t BELIEVE the kinds of gross things kids get exposed to that hand sanitizer won’t fix. Last year, THREE kids got their shirts messed up because either they had a bloody nose and they sneezed, or someone ELSE had a bloody nose and sneezed on them. This afternoon, I walked into my classroom to see a molar on my desk. Apparently it had fallen out yesterday (while a kid was eating taffy), and he had let the other kids play with the tooth, and it ended up on my desk.

  13. theycallmetak says:

    Superbugs are not caused by hand sanitizer and frequent hand washing. They’re caused by unnecessarily prescribing antibiotics to people.

    Handwashing is still one of the most simple, effective ways to prevent the spread of germs in the first place. Alcohol based hand sanitizers are even easier. For the little kids, don’t put any perfumes in it so it doesn’t smell good enough to lick, drink, etc. For the older kids maybe putting some kind of floral scent would be enough of a deterrent.

    @SOHP – According to my nephew it’s still pretty much like that now. +1 for your avatar!

  14. GitEmSteveDave says:

    @RvLeshrac: @thewriteguy: These are alcohol based cleansers, which are different than antibiotic based soaps and the such. I don’t believe there is anything that could develop a resistance to almost pure alcohol. But if I’m wrong, please correct me.

  15. etinterrapax says:

    Terrible idea. Just terrible. It’s needlessly promotional, contributes to resistant bacteria, and detracts from teaching handwashing. Kids are going to get sick, and if this is implemented, they’re going to get sicker. I don’t know why it’s so hard for anyone to think long-term about this. Do they want kids’ immune systems to get weaker and the bugs to get stronger? Because that’s the kind of perfect storm they’re actively brewing with this crap.

  16. bonzombiekitty says:

    sheesh. The reason we have stuff like drug resistant MRSA going around is that we’re too damn clean. We use too many anti bacterial products to begin with. Even if they’re alcohol based, then you have left over bacteria that’s hard to clean off when you need to be able to do so.

    There’s no reason to clean your hands all the time. Getting sick as a kid is not necessarily a bad thing. But in the long run, it makes the immune system stronger.

    Things don’t need to be constantly sanitized. Wash your hands after the bathroom, keep things reasonably tidy, and you’re fine.

  17. BearTack says:

    Alcohol hand sanitizers are not very effective when used by themselves. They work well when used in the health field, because they are interspersed with water and soap hand washing. But are not particularly useful when used as the sole method of cleaning.

  18. Youthier says:

    I wish we had gotten these when I was a kid. Then maybe my parents would have gotten my OCD treated in elementary school instead of high school.

  19. middy says:

    Bacteria becoming resistant to alcohol would be rather like cats becoming resistant to flamethrowers….

  20. MeOhMy says:

    @faust1200: My thoughts exactly! Tomorrow’s headline: Brooklyn students hospitalized after drinking hand sanitizer!

  21. fileunder says:

    regardless of their contribution to MRSA/viruses, and no offense to DermaRite, but 10,000 units for 1+ million kids?

  22. girly says:

    About the chalkboard in the pic, I think that yes, you can learn that stuff typically somewhere between the 7th and 12th grades, but whether you have something more advanced in university really depends on your major.

    As for the MRSA issue and cleanliness, I may be wrong, but I think there’s a difference between less robust immune systems due to over-sanitizing and more robust bacteria and viruses due to drug resistance. I guess those things are working hand-in-hand.

    Although I think that it seems kids still get plenty of exposure to germs. I would guess things like MRSA were created in hospitals and just spread easily in schools.

  23. kimsama says:

    @middy: Right on — people have been using alcohol as a preservative for millennia, because of its bactericidal properties. This is why you don’t have to refrigerate your gin (but you can if you want a stronger martini ^_~).

    I’m against antibiotic soaps (and really just think hand washing is the best policy), but it’s pretty unlikely that the non-resistant strains of bacteria (and there are alcohol-resistant strains) are going to stop being all denatured and destroyed by alcohol anytime soon.

  24. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    That kid does look a little young to be graphing quadratic equations. And WAY too happy about it.

  25. Shadowfire says:

    @SOhp101: But really… washing your hands is kinda silly. Don’t get me wrong, I do it, but once you wash your hands, then grab the handle to leave the bathroom, you’ve just re-soiled them.

  26. velvetjones says:

    @BearTack: Not true. Alcohol based hand sanitizers are incredibly effective, and are really the ONLY hand sanitizers that should be used because bacteria will never become resistant, at least not on this planet. Alcohol based hand sanitzers are one part of a hand care program. These kids need to be taught to properly wash their hands and then should follow up with lotion because cracks etc. are a perfect place for bacteria to hide. Cafeterias in this country should install handwashing stations like they do in asia, so everyone can wash before they eat.

  27. Pink Puppet says:

    @SOhp101: Community colleges aren’t half bad, and shockingly some people do have to take or retake mathematics classes that aren’t up to your standards in both community colleges and universities. I had a number of years between getting out of high school and going to college, so you’d better believe I went ‘…wait, what?’ at the words ‘quadratic equation’.

  28. Kajj says:

    It’s clip art, people. That child may not even have been in the same room as the chalkboard.

  29. synergy says:

    @middy: Well said!

    Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are germicidal, not anti-bacterial. Antibacterial soaps contain triclosan.

    Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are only supposed to be used as a supplement to soap handwashing. To boot, the CDC found that some of those alcohol-based hand sanitizers were claiming 99.9% efficacy while using alcohols that were around 40% alcohol.

    They could claim the 99.9% efficacy because they were testing them on inanimate objects such as table surfaces. I think we all know that our hands are usually more germy than a table surface.

    So if you can’t get to soap, the alcohol-based hand sanitizer has to be at least 60% alcohol, but prefereably 70%-95% for it to actually be effective.

    The FDA doesn’t approve of the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers in food safety, only if used in conjunction with soap handwashing. With the soap handwashing being dominant in practice.


  30. Bay State Darren says:

    @faust1200: We sure know they’ll try. Then things’ll go like this.

  31. girly says:

    @Kajj: I think this is more of a conversation about what is covered in university rather than people finding the pic very convincing.

  32. girly says:

    @velvetjones:Good point about cracks in the skin…the alcohol in hand sanitizers dries my skin out and probably leaves me more susceptible to germs than had I just washed my hands.

  33. kryptik says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: Typically these alcohol based hand gels contain an antibacterial ingredient, and the purpose of the alcohol is just as a fast-evaporating base so that you can use them without water.
    Excessive use of these sprays will probably help the evolution of more superbugs.

    The sprays have their place – for medical professionals sanitizing their hands between patients and for ambulance crews working away from running water. Universal use is counterproductive though.

  34. scarletvirtue says:

    @pinkpuppet: Thank you! Those are my exact thoughts about community colleges and math classes.

    I was horrible at math in high school, so I only got up to Algebra I. When I got to (community) college, I was re-taking Algebra I, and took Algebra II as well as College Algebra.

    I still suck at the more complicated math … but that’s okay. Insurance doesn’t require me to remember how to figure out quadratic equations or asymtopes (sp?). :-)

  35. scarletvirtue says:

    @kryptik: I have a bottle of an alcohol-based hand gel from a pharmaceutical company (one of those promo items given to Drs.), and on the label, it says to wash hands with soap and water after a specific number of uses.

    Honestly, I usually use it to wipe off the phone receiver when I have a cold.

  36. strixus says:

    I’m sorry – I’m having a hard time NOT BEING FREAKED OUT BY THAT KID.

    -shivers- Can someone get me an kidicide or a piece of tape or something so I can read the rest of this page?

  37. CapitalC says:


    Seriously tho, I plan on subjecting my 7-month-old to all sorts of crap so I ensure his immune system is strong and healthy, not “cleansed and weak”. What’s it they say about eating a pound of dirt? ;)

  38. Wow – this is good news for kids who’re bored in school!

    Rub just a little sanitiser between your hands, kids, then cup ’em together and take yourself a good long snort. You’ll be good ‘n’ buzzed before you even have time to smile!

    Well, you will if it’s ethyl alcohol in the rub, anyway. If its isopropyl or n-propanol you’ll probably still get altered, but then you’ll feel like crap and throw up. Given the popularity of huffing glue, paint and air duster, though, this is not necessarily a drawback for the average drug-starved teenager.

    The MSDS for GelRite makes clear that this is only a 62%-ethyl-alcohol formulation, but it still ought to have some kick to it. I remember getting lightly loaded by just sniffing 40%-alcohol liquor bottles when I was a little ‘un, but I didn’t dream that a kindly politician would let me do it at school.

    Cheers, Dov Hikind!

  39. bunnymen says:

    I can’t believe no one has brought this up yet.

  40. AriellaFaerie says:

    Can’t….read….post….scary aryan looking big mouth math kid will eat me.

  41. SOhp101 says:

    @pinkpuppet: My comment seems to have been misinterpreted–community colleges are a great place to go for cheaper extended education and enrichment courses, but that’s the only place where someone should go to pay for classes of this difficulty, not a four year university.

    Being hygienic is not the reason for these outbreaks. It’s because people are uneducated about proper use of antibiotics and not emphasizing basic cleanliness.

    Washing your hands after you use the restroom does not only help remove bacteria from your hands when relieving yourself isn’t the only purpose, it also removes a lot of the bacteria that has accumulated on your hands up until that point.

    @Shadowfire: Ask any person in the medical field what’s the #1 thing they can do to avoid getting sick when outdoors, and they’ll probably tell you “wash your hands.” Your hands touch EVERYTHING, and they probably touch a lot of your mucous membranes in the process.

  42. nardo218 says:

    @MystiMel: Hello, welcome to childhood, please fish a baseball out of a mud puddle and then bite your fingernails.

  43. nardo218 says:

    @middy: Well, they can be: [] Some bacterial have better cell walls. This is a trait that can be increased through mutation.

  44. LucyInTheSky says:

    I know this girl who is constantly sanitizing and washing her hands and is really concerned about germs. she eats really healthy food and gets plenty of sleep and excersise. guess what? she is sick constantly. she always has a cold or the flu or something. her immune system has never gotten the chance to really fight off anything or build up an immunity, so anytime she misses a germ somewhere, she gets sick.

  45. spookyooky says:

    @middy: Has anyone ever done a study to see how many cats you would have to BBQ with a flamethrower before they get resistant? Because, fire resistant cats would be kinda cool.

  46. RvLeshrac says:


    Exactly my point.

    (and whoever else I missed)

    LucyInTheSky and a couple others beat me to it.

    The problem is not necessarily the resistance of the bacteria to antibiotics, the problem is that if you aren’t exposed to a wide variety of bacteria, you fail to develop a healthy immune system.

    You don’t have to live in a dumpster, but you *need* those germs you pick up when you, say, eat a sandwich after paying with cash at the register. Our daily lives are one big uncontrolled vaccination. The reason the flu, for example, isn’t considered a “severe” ailment by most people (despite the fact that it can cause major health problems) is because you typically get over it in a few days, despite feeling quite ill, and then you don’t have to worry about catching it again for quite some time. Same reason flu shots are only recommended for children and the elderly – they’re more at risk for complications, and have undeveloped/failing immune systems.

    Soon, *everyone* will *need* a flu shot, because their immune systems will be incapable of coping with it.

  47. @everyone who was freaked out by the kid in the photo:

    I have Photoshopped it so that it’s more relevant to the story, and so that his big gaping mouth isn’t threatening to eat you anymore. You’re welcome!

  48. tcolberg says:

    Instead of the promotional sanitizer, how about just getting working bathrooms with soap and those uber-hand dryers in the schools. I attended LAUSD, not NY schools, but we NEVER had soap in the restrooms, let alone working sinks.