FDA Warns of More Dangerous Hand Sanitizers

A lot of people aren’t taking the pandemic seriously. However, most of our customers are older or have medical conditions that put them at a higher risk for COVID-19. We know that you are concerned about your health, and we are here to help you. That is why we are staying with the news and keeping you abreast of what’s going on.

The FDA has added more hand sanitizers to its list of brands to avoid. It’s so frustrating when we are trying our hardest to follow the rules and stay safe. But the FDA, looking for the safest products, has a list of over 80 that they have deemed unsafe.

Manufacturers are not recalling the products, so it’s essential to check the list and only buy products you trust. That can be hard as most of us don’t have a “go-to” brand of hand sanitizer. In the regular course of our lives, we might have Purell or one that a friend gave us as a gift. But now, we’ve run out of the one we were given two Christmases ago and finding Purell is harder than a needle in a haystack!

The unsafe hand sanitizers have methanol instead of ethanol. Methanol is a much more dangerous type of alcohol. It can poison you through the skin, contact with your eyes, being swallowed or being breathed. It isn’t listed on the label. In fact, many of the dangerous hand sanitizers have labels claiming to be FDA approved. That’s a lie: the FDA doesn’t approve any hand sanitizer! The dangerous hand sanitizers can cause nerve damage, vision loss, seizures and more.

While many of the dangerous products come from abroad, some products are unsafe here at home. We’ve all enjoyed the heartwarming stories of breweries and distilleries turning away from making drinks to instead pitch in and make hand sanitizers. It’s shown how people and businesses have pulled together to help each other get through this. However, Leiper’s Fork Distillery in Tennessee is now being asked to recall their hand sanitizer as the label says it contains methanol.

The distillery sold the product in 16-ounce bottles and 5-gallon jugs. They gave it to first responders for free. Well-meaning as their actions may have been, the product poses a health risk.

All of this may have you wanting to make your own hand sanitizer, but that carries its own risks. Hand sanitizer should have 60 percent ethanol. There’s a science to hand sanitizer that most of us won’t achieve at home.

We don’t have sterile production facilities in our houses,” said Dr. Ted Lain, a dermatologist and chief medical officer for Sanova Dermatology, a group of 15 medical practices in Texas and Louisiana. “I’m concerned the percentage of alcohol is going to be incorrect. I’m concerned that the tools that are going to be used for it are not sterile and could be introducing bacteria, fungi and viruses into the hand sanitizer. And you hear about essential oils and other things being added that can cause contact sensitization.”

Many people have tried to make it with vodka, but vodka doesn’t have enough alcohol to be effective. Bleach, vinegar and silver are also things people are trying to use to clean their hands. But they are not sufficient.

The best advice is to look for big brand names that are well established that you recognize. They have been around long before this pandemic and haven’t sprung up overnight. If you buy something else, check the FDA’s list to see if they have spoken out against it. Check it’s country of origin (most of the unsafe ones are coming from outside the U.S.) If you are unsure, the safest thing to do maybe skipping it and washing your hands when you get home. Washing with soap and water is far more effective than hand sanitizer. While we all want to be safe on the go, avoiding touching your face and waiting to wash until your home is safer than using a hand sanitizer with methanol in it!
July 29, 2020
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