Mind and Body

Hand Sanitizer Use Can Skew Alcohol Test, Study Says

Americans have become accustomed to using hand sanitizer more and more in the past ten years, but researchers warn that frequent use could cause a false positive in an alcohol consumption test.

The study from the University of Florida showed using the alcohol-based sanitizers a few times a day is probably not enough to show up on a urine test. But for people whose jobs require repeated hand sanitizer use—such as doctors and nurses—the amount of alcohol absorbed through the skin could lead to a false positive.

Study co-author Dr. Gary Reisfield says he was inspired to do the study after coming into contact with people at Shands Recovery Center who tested positive but denied having consumed alcohol.
He says people need to be aware of other hidden sources of alcohol, too, such as mouthwashes and cosmetics.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.