There are aspects of COVID coverage that are painful but required. Looking at the rate of infection, the death toll, the ‘hot spots’ are all important. What we should not have to worry about is the effectiveness of cleaning products; but that is why was have the Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA has expanded its list of hand sanitizers to avoid to include products with inadequate levels of alcohol in addition to those containing methanol. An advisory issued last week announced that tests had found four sanitizers with “low levels of ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol,” the active ingredients in hand sanitizers that makes them helpful for avoiding infection.
According to the New York Times, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that consumers use alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent ethanol, if soap and water are not available.
The four hand sanitizers the F.D.A. found to have inadequate concentrations of ethanol are NeoNatural, Medicare Alcohol Antiseptic Topical Solution, Datsen Hand Sanitizer and Alcohol Antiseptic 62 Percent Hand Sanitizer. The F.D.A. also flagged several more products that had inadequate amounts of benzalkonium chloride, a chemical with antimicrobial properties.
The list of hand sanitizers that consumers should avoid has grown to 115.
Other hand sanitizers were flagged because they were found to have microbial contamination or inadequate levels of benzalkonium chloride, a chemical with antimicrobial properties. And some were listed for being purportedly made in facilities that also produced weaker benzalkonium chloride products, or in facilities that also produced methanol-contaminated products.
During the coronavirus pandemic, sales of hand sanitizers have soared as consumers tried to observe health officials’ recommendations to frequently and thoroughly wash or sanitize their hands to keep from contracting the virus.
According to Dr. Matthew G. Heinz, a hospital physician in Tucson, Ariz., 60 percent alcohol is the minimum concentration for a hand sanitizer to be effective. Lower concentrations mean diminished disinfectant properties, he said.
Using hand sanitizer repeatedly throughout the day is no substitute for using warm water and soap for cleaning.
“After multiple uses, you can start diminishing the effectiveness of the hand sanitizer,” Dr. Heinz said. “You really do need to actually wash with soap and water for 20 seconds or more to kind of renew things. You really can’t just apply hand sanitizer 40 times throughout the day and think that you’re good.”
For a complete list of products from the FDA, go to https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-updates-hand-sanitizers-consumers-should-not-use#products