A task force with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Commission for Hospital Hygiene and Infection Prevention (KRINKO) at Robert Koch Institute in July published a memorandum stressing that ethanol is a safe and essential constituent in hand rubs for healthcare.

The WHO task force and KRINKO have concluded that the repeated use of ethanol-based hand rubs (EBHR) in healthcare settings poses no risk of carcinogenicity, mutagenicity or reprotoxicity. The amounts of ethanol absorbed through the skin from EBHR are similar to those hidden in beverages like apple juice and kefir. 

EBHR is used to prevent infections caused by non-enveloped viruses, such as norovirus, adenovirus, and rhinovirus and are especially needed in healthcare and nursing homes, in the food industry and other areas.