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Hand sanitizers don't wash away peanut allergens

May 17, 2004|Jane E. Allen

With peanut allergy the third most common allergy in young children and the most common in older kids, teens and adults, there's been considerable discussion of how best to protect allergic people from inadvertent exposure to peanuts.

Soap-free hand sanitizers apparently aren't enough.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore applied a teaspoon of peanut butter to the hands of 19 nonallergic adults and then had them wash their hands with a variety of cleansers, plain water and an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Hand wipes, liquid soap and bar soap removed all of the allergen that sets off allergic reactions. Water and the hand sanitizer left some behind.

The study appeared in the May issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

-- Jane E. Allen

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