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Md. AG proves sanitizers don't kill 99.9 percent germ

Saturday - 9/22/2012, 7:53am  ET

Kate Ryan, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - The makers of CleanWell hand sanitizer have agreed to change their labels and pay $100,000 in penalties for claiming their product could "kill 99.99 percent" of the germs on your hands.

The California-based company agreed to the settlement after Maryland's Attorney General Douglas Gansler's office investigated the claim.

Gansler says he decided to investigate when he spotted a hand sanitizer bottle on his secretary's desk.

"I said, ‘Do you think that's really accurate?" Gansler says.

Gansler says he checked with experts and found the 99.99 percent claim could not be supported. CleanWell would not comment when contacted by WTOP.

The attorney general acknowledged that sanitizers do play a role in reducing the number of germs found on hands.

Gansler says the investigation highlights what health experts have been telling the public about reducing the possibility of spreading illness.

"The best way to clean your hands is to do it the old-fashioned way: Soap and water," he says.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)