PSA From The FDAMar 1, 2021
Clean, sanitized hands are a crucial step in living a healthy life and for stopping the spread of any virus. It’s just a good thing to do. And although I am a life-long proponent of bar soap, using a hand sanitizer is important in a pinch or when you can’t wash your hands. Yet here’s the rub, not many of us pay attention to the ingredients and warnings dished out by the FDA regarding hand sanitizers. If you are like me you may have thought all hand sanitizers are the same. It’s not true.
So here’s a PSA on the latest recommendations and warnings from the FDA. Please pay attention to these as we work to combat the virus now and any viruses we may encounter in the future:
Here’s why. Even though the products claim that they have 70% ethanol alcohol (the good alcohol) in the product, upon inspection it was found that they only contained 58%. This is unacceptable and does not help in any way shape or form against a virus. It needs to be at least 70%. Also, some of the more sinister products contained methanol, which is a toxic, wood alcohol and can cause serious health issues when placed on skin or ingested. It’s just bad stuff. And why they would do this is completely unknown to me other than it is way less expensive to produce methanol or it is more widely available. But the truth is, they are taking advantage of our desire to use hand sanitizers and are banking on the premise that we don’t read ingredients lists and sometimes, even if we did, the ingredients listings were deceptive and out-right lies. It makes me so mad.
Those that are most vulnerable to such toxic ingredients are children, as their skin is much more porous and products seep into their system more readily. According to the FDA, in a 10 day study from January 1 to January 10, 2021 (that’s a pretty small window, my friends) there were 938 poisonous hand-sanitizer exposure cases in the US. Almost all of these have been children. That is scary stuff and so unnecessary. And it breaks my heart because you think as a parent you are doing the right thing by preventative measures only to be fooled by bad business practices. Luckily, the FDA is on top of it and will post consistent and regular updates to their website. Pay attention to this. Here’s a link to their website:
In a quote taken directly from the FDA website,
“In relation, the FDA issued an import alert on all alcohol-based sanitizers produced in Mexico. “Over the course of the ongoing pandemic, the agency has seen a sharp increase in hand sanitizer products from Mexico that were labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but tested positive for methanol contamination,” the FDA wrote.
“Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin and life-threatening when ingested. Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient in hand sanitizer[s] or other drugs.”
In addition, on February 25, 2021 the FDA stated their most current update:
Warning Letter: Insufficient (58%) Ethanol Content
A warning letter issued on Feb. 18, 2021, to Absaea Cosmetics, of Emiliano Zapata, Mexico, the FDA states, “Following an attempt to import Fragrance Free Vlanc + Plur Hand Sanitizer Rinse Free Formulated with 70% of Alcohol with Aloe Vera & Glycerin into the United States, it was detained and refused admission at the border. The results of the FDA laboratory testing of a batch of this product detained at the border demonstrate that this drug product labeled as manufactured at your facility is adulterated in that its strength, purity, or quality falls below that which it purports or is represented to possess.”
The agency outlined that the product is labeled to contain 70% volume/volume (v/v) of the active ingredient alcohol (ethanol). However, FDA testing found that the drug product contained only 58% v/v ethanol. “This hand sanitizer drug product is adulterated under section 501(c) of the FD&C Act in that the active ingredient of ethanol is present at levels in the products lower than that which is declared on its labeling,” the letter states.
The FDA concluded that all drugs and drug products manufactured by the firm and from Mexico in general remain listed on import alert until there is evidence establishing that the conditions that gave rise to the violation have been resolved.
So, be aware. Here’s a simple test to take before using hand sanitizers on yourself or your children:
- Does it contain at least 70% ethanol alcohol?
- Does it come from Mexico?
It’s time to start paying close attention to items we place on our skin. Treat your skin well. Treat your hands well. They do a lot for you. Every finger is in place for a specific reason and works all day long for you. Show them some love.
So, the PSA from the FDA ~ please pay attention and do the best you can to put the right products on your hands. And if you need any help in choosing the best soaps for your skin, let me know. I’m right here.