Hands Across America : The rise of Purell.


71AZktzE6kLDavid Owen

New Yorker

The product was called Purell. Today, you see it everywhere. My local supermarket has a dispenser at the entrance, a pump bottle at every cash register, and a second dispenser at the exit. My doctor uses it several times during every office visit. Cruise-ship operators squirt it into the hands of passengers as they enter dining rooms and buffet lines, and it’s become a staple at school picnics and birthday parties. George W. Bush was called a racist and a germaphobe for using a sanitizer after first shaking hands with Barack Obama, but Bush was ahead of the curve: he also gave a squirt to Obama, and recommended it as a cold preventative. (It has been estimated that the President shakes hands with about sixty-five thousand people a year.) What was once barely even a product is now a growing product category, worth hundreds of millions…

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