It seems the incredible rise of hand sanitizers over the last decade have turned the now-ubiquitous goo into the equivalent of a portable sink for millions of Americans.  "Don’t have access to running hot water and soap?  Just use a squirt of easy-to-carry hand sanitizer".

While hand sanitizer can certainly be useful in a pinch, how does it handle the eradication of potentially deadly bacteria like E. coli?  According to an experiment conducted by local 4th grader, Celia Vernon, not very well.  As reported by King5 news reporter, Gary Chittim:

Nine-year-old Celia Vernon won her class science fair at Roosevelt Elementary with an experiment involving a live sample of E.coli. Under the guidance of her father, a biologist with a background in microbiology, Vernon tested several solutions on E.coli, including Purell brand hand sanitizer.

In a side-by-side comparison with common bleach, the E.coli on the Purell side survived. On the bleach side, it died.

The Vernons say they have no bone to pick with Purell, but were surprised to learn it doesn’t kill one of the main dangers associated with exposures from using bathrooms.

A spokesperson for the makers of Purell told KING 5 News that it stands by its claims to kill 99 percent of germs and suggested we contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A CDC spokesperson says they have not studied hand sanitizers specifically on E.coli and recommend hand sanitizers only when soap and water are not available.