Have you ever heard of isopropanol? How about isopropyl alcohol, or rubbing alcohol?
You may know that isopropanol — rubbing alcohol — is the key active ingredient in certain hand sanitizers. And while the United States battles to prevent and/or contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) as the world braces for pandemic, these hand sanitizers are extremely critical.
What you might not know is that propane is a key component in isopropanol — defining propane’s role in helping to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria.
In its 2017 guidelines for pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes the importance of either ethanol- or isopropanol-based hand sanitizers as a “nonpharmaceutical intervention” (NPI), or a strategy for disease and exposure control. NPIs, including hand hygiene, are actions that people and communities can take to help slow the spread of respiratory viruses such as influenza and coronavirus. According to the CDC, “NPIs can be used in conjunction with available pharmaceutical interventions (antiviral medications) to help slow its transmission in communities, especially when a vaccine is not yet widely available.”
The CDC lists other personal protective measures, such as voluntary home isolation when ill; respiratory etiquette, or covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or shirt sleeve; and hand hygiene with soap and water. When soap and water are not available, the CDC urges the use of “alcohol-based sanitizers containing at least 60% ethanol or isopropanol.”
There is good news for Pennsylvanians: Thanks to the ongoing shale revolution, an abundance of propane is now being produced in Pennsylvania and transported across the state through the Mariner East pipeline system. With various offtake points along the pipeline, propane is sold to Pennsylvania customers for many uses:
- Affordable home heating (mitigating the impact of a future polar vortex)
- Water heating
- Indoor and outdoor cooking
- Clothes drying
- Vehicle fuel (increasingly powering Pennsylvania school bus fleets with cleaner fuel)
- Backup power
- Construction equipment
- Farm irrigation engines, crop drying, and pest and weed control
Besides being more affordable, using propane over alternative sources for each of these applications is often better for the environment.
Beyond Pennsylvania, propane produced here is used around the world for products that keep us safe and healthy, in addition to isopropanol-based hand sanitizers — surgical and dental instruments, plastic syringes, pacemakers and more.
Pennsylvania propane truly supports our personal, financial and environmental health. For more information about propane resources in Pennsylvania, read here.
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