Here’s How to Know if Your Hand Sanitizer is Safe & Effective
- Health experts and officials are keeping a close watch on the safety levels of hand sanitizers. The reason is not far-fetched. An additional 1,500 companies are now involved in the production of hand sanitizers.
- A warning letter has been issued to a particular company who claimed that their product can prevent COVID-19 infection.
- According to CDC guidelines, all hand sanitizers should have an alcohol content of 94.9% by volume. Manufacturers should use ingredients for taste and smell that will discourage the ingestion of the product.
The FDA on April 15 updated its decision to relax restrictions on the manufacturing of hand sanitizers in response to the coronavirus crises.
On the 27th of April, the FDA announced that over 1,500 manufacturers have received the agency’s approval to produce hand sanitizers.
The officials also hinted that there were in the middle of tackling safety concerns surrounding the production of hand sanitizers against FDA guidelines, or those sold with unproven claims.
Commissioner of the FDA, Dr. Stephen M. Hahn appreciated the willingness of the sanitizing industry to assist in the fight against the pandemic through speedy production of hand sanitizers.
And then he said “with this increased supply comes our continued mission to ensure the safety of these products. Hand sanitizer must be manufactured in a way that makes them unpalatable to people, especially young children, and that they’re appropriately labeled to discourage accidental or intentional ingestion.”
So, with the large number of products flooding the market, the question “are hand sanitizers safe?” comes to mind. What’s the guarantee that what you are using (whether bought online or at the store) has met safety standards?
Hand sanitizer guidelines by the FDA
According to the directive by the FDA, entities who have not gotten a license can do a temporary registration as OTC drug manufacturers to produce them during the pandemic.
All products made should be listed in the FDA Drug Registration and Listing System.
The agency stated that it has no intention of taking any action against companies that manufacture hand sanitizers for use by healthcare personnel or consumer use.
The FDA recommends that hand sanitizers used should contain ethanol volume of no less than 94.9% by volume.
Ingredients to be used in the production of sanitizers include sterile water, hydrogen peroxide, and glycerin.
The FDA also backed the CDC’s recommendations that the alcohol content should not be less than 60 percent.
Hand sanitizers that contain a lot of alcohol may be more expensive, but the agency recommends it, insisting that users should not buy anything less than 60% alcohol.
Despite the relaxed regulations, manufacturers are still held accountable for the quality of what they produce.
It is a known fact that some topicals are associated with allergic reactions like rashes, itching, and chemical burns.
How to use hand sanitizers properly
According to information documented on the CDC website, the agency notes that some studies have shown that hand sanitizers work very well in hospital settings, where there is frequent contact between the hands and germs, but generally are not greasy or heavily soiled.
According to the agency, clinical studies have shown that sanitizers are usually more effective when their alcohol content is higher – somewhere between 60 – 95 percent.
If the alcohol content is less than what is recommended, it will not kill the germs, but will only slow down its growth.
According to the CDC, when you want to use your sanitizer, just apply the product on one palm, and then rub it over the entire surfaces of your hand until they dry off.
Alcohol evaporates quickly, so there’s no need to wipe it off, just let it dry on its own.
Tonika Bruce, MSN, RN, MBA. is an accomplished nurse leader, published author, and personal development expert passionate about advancing healthcare management and quality patient outcomes.
She taps into the years of experience in healthcare management to produce credible and easy-to-understand health and leadership content. Her exceptional work has been featured in reputable publications, including Forbes, Recruiter, Inc, and the Color of Wellness magazine.