FDA Warns Against Some Hand Sanitizers

Throughout the pandemic, we have been told that washing our hands was one of the best ways to protect ourselves against COVID-19. We were also told that hand sanitizer could help clean our hands and kill the virus when running water and soap weren’t available. However, not all hand sanitizers are created equal. The FDA has issued warnings against some brands they feel aren’t safe.

The hand sanitizers that the FDA is concerned about are still on the market. Hand sanitizers made by Eskbiochem SA de CV may contain toxic chemicals. The brand names are:

- All-Clean Hand Sanitizer
- Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol
- Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer
- The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
- Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer

The brands may contain methanol. (https://www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle/fda-warning-hand-sanitizers-methanol) The chemical is toxic when absorbed through the skin or if it gets in your mouth. The FDA says you should call your doctor immediately if you have used any of these brands. Methanol is a wood alcohol. One of the products they sampled, Lavar, was 81 percent methanol. While you need a high alcohol content for hand sanitizer to work, it should not be wood alcohol.  

Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and should not be used due to its toxic effects,” the agency said.

The company has yet to recall any of its products or remove them from the shelves. The alcohol can cause headaches and vomit, seizures and permanent blindness. During Prohibition in the 1920s, 750 people died from drinking wood alcohol in New York.

The CDC has always said that handwashing was preferable to hand sanitizer. But, sometimes you’re out and about, and that isn’t an option. Hand sanitizer is better than nothing. However, that’s not true for these ones.

The FDA is also concerned about products that claim they will protect you for an extended amount of time. Some say that they can kill viruses for 24 hours, there is no proof that that is true.

The fact is, protecting yourself from COVID-19 doesn’t come down to one step. Even the safest, most effective hand sanitizers alone won’t protect you. Wearing a mask, not touching your face and cleaning your hands all help to avoid infection. If you are out and about, you should use a safe hand sanitizer, but, whenever possible, wash with soap and warm water.
June 24, 2020
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