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FDA says these hand sanitizers won't protect you against COVID-19

CDC warns of "worst fall" ever if COVID-19 guidelines ignored
CDC warns of "worst fall" ever if COVID-19 gu... 03:55

For months, the Food and Drug Administration has been urging U.S. consumers to avoid a growing list of hand sanitizers that may contain toxic substances. Now the agency is warning of another problem: Some brands may not be strong enough to kill the coronavirus.

To work, sanitizers must have a sufficient amount of at least one of two kinds of alcohol. They have to have be at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those levels are also safe on human skin.

According to the FDA, the following sanitizer products are "sub-potent," meaning they lack enough of the active ingredients that protect people from infection:

  • Alcohol Antiseptic 62% Hand Sanitizer (Quimica Magna de Mexico)
  • Assured Hand Sanitizer Vitamin E and Aloe (Albek de Mexico)
  • Assured Hand Sanitizer Aloe Vera (Albek de Mexico)
  • Bernal (Quimica Magna)
  • Datsen (Quimica Magna)
  • Derma70 Hand Sanitizer (Asiaticon)
  • Clean Humans (DEPQ Internacional)
  • CleanCare NoGerm (Precision Analitica Integral)
  • Dgreen (DEPQ Internaciona)
  • Hand Sanitizer (DEPQ Internacional)
  • HF&N (Healthy Food and Nutrition Lab)
  • Medically Minded (Asiaticon)
  • Modesa Hand Sanitizer with Moisturizers and Aloe Vera (Albek de Mexico)
  • NeoNatural (Limpo Quimicos)
  • Next Hand Sanitizer (Albek de Mexico)
  • Nuuxsan Instant Hand Sanitizer (Albek de Mexico)
  • OZO (Estrategia Hospitalaria)
  • Protz Real Protection Antibacterial (Asiaticon)
  • UltraCruz (Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Texas)
  • V-KLEAN (Asiaticon)
  • Yakana (Grupo Yakana)
  • Yacana Hand Sanitizer (Grupo Yacana) 

Worse, some of those sanitizers also contain methanol, which is used to make fuel and is dangerous when absorbed through the skin, inhaled or ingested.

The lack of potency is one of the reasons the FDA's list of sanitizers that people should avoid, which was expanded this week to about 100 brands and nearly 150 varieties. The list includes sanitizers made without enough ethanol, isopropanol or another active ingredient to be effective, consumer advocacy group U.S. PIRG noted.

Most recently, on August 26, the federal agency posted a recall notice by Mexico's Apodaca, Nuevo Leon, Nanomateriales involving Zanilast plus gel to contain 1-propanol, a toxin that can damage the nervous system. The substance cause death if it's absorbed through the skin, consumed or comes into contact with a person's eyes. 

The recalled products were sold in 1-liter, 25-liter and 1-gallon plastic bottles in California, New Jersey and New York, the company said.

Last week, the FDA alerted consumers to four types of sanitizer made by Mexico's Harmonic Nature after finding it contained 1-propanol. 

Make your own hand sanitizer 01:17

The FDA in mid-June issued public health alerts about hand sanitizers contaminated with methanol, after a rash of illnesses and four deaths in the U.S. were believed to be connected to toxic hand sanitizers.

While most of the problematic brands were made in Mexico, additions to the FDA's list this week included Leafree Instant Hand Sanitizer from China, with the product labeled "edible alcohol." The agency also flagged some sanitizers made in North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Utah. On Saturday, SG24 of Bolingbroke, Georgia, recalled SkinGuard24 – All Day Hand Sanitizer products because they are labeled as containing methanol.

Sold nationwide in plastic bottles, pens or individually wrapped towelettes, the recall involves the following products, including UPC and SKU codes: 

  • SkinGuard24 – All Day Hand Sanitizer Plastic bottle with Foam Pump 8 oz (250 mL) 7 93573 147125, 051230024
  • SkinGuard24 – All Day Hand Sanitizer Plastic bottle with Foam Pump 2.67 oz (70 ml) 7 93573 147103, 051220024
  • SkinGuard24 – All Day Hand Sanitizer Spray Pocket Pen 10 mL 7 93573 14709, 051210048
  • SkinGuard24 – All Day Hand Sanitizer Individual Towelette packaged as Single Use 2.5 x 3.75 03150025

While public health experts say hand sanitizer is generally an adequate substitute for hand-washing to protect against COVID-19, the growing use of disinfectant products has led to a spike in accidental poisoning, especially among children. 

Through the third week of July, there had been a 59% spike in calls — more than 18,000 cases — to one of the 55 poison control centers around the U.S. due to various incidents involving hand sanitizer, compared to the same period last year, according to data from the National Poison Data System. Nearly 12,000 of those cases involved kids ages 5 and younger.

Meantime, the FDA continues to add to its list of sanitizing products to avoid, with two more companies recalling products this week.

The FDA advises against using the following hand sanitizers because they might be toxic:

  • Alcohol Antiseptic 75% Topical (Harmonic Nature)
  • Alcohol Antiseptic 80% topical (Botanicals Internacional)
  • All-Clean Hand Sanitizer (EskBiochem)
  • All Clear Hand Sanitizer (Botanicals Internacional)
  • Always Be Clean (Open Book Extracts, North Carolina)
  • AMX Instant Hand Sanitizer (Noticias Mexico Hoy Grupo Multimedia)
  • Andy's (Limpo Quimicos)
  • Andy's Best (Limpo Quimicos)
  • Antiseptic Alcohol 70% Topical Solution hand sanitizer (Soluciones Cosmeticas)
  • Anti-Bac Hand Sanitizer (Real Clean Distribuciones)
  • Assured (4E Global)
  • Assured (Albek de Mexico)
  • Be Safe (Tropicosmeticos)
  • Bersih (Soluciones Cosmeticas)
  • Bio AAA Advance (AAA Cosmetica) 
  • Blumen (4E Global SAPI de CV)
  • Born Basic (Real Clean Distribuciones)
  • Britz (Tropicosmeticos)
  • BV BYE Virus (Plastico Las Palmas)
  • Cavalry (Real Clean Distribuciones)
  • CleanCare NoGerm (Eskbiochem)
  • Cleaner Hand (Tropicosmeticos)
  • Command Gel (Roque Plast)
  • DAESI hand sanitizer (Yara Elena De La Garza Perez Nieto)
  • Earths Amenities (DDI Multinacional)
  • Enliven (Real Clean Distribuciones)
  • Esk Biochem (Eskbiochem)
  • Florance Morris Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer (Grupo Asimex de Mexico)
  • Foamy iQ (Spartan Chemical)
  • GelBac (Incredible Products)
  • Good Gel (Eskbiochem)
  • Greenfrog (Notarika)
  • Greenfrog Sanitizing Wipes (Notarika)
  • Hand Sanitizer (Grupo Insoma)
  • Hand Sanitizer (Grupo Plast Y Kosas)
  • Hand Sanitizer (Incredible Products)
  • Hand Sanitizer (MXL Comercial)
  • Hand Sanitizer (Real Clean)
  • Hand Sanitizer (Soluciones Cosmeticas)
  • Hand Sanitizer Agavespa Skincare (DDI Multinacional)
  • Hand Sanitizer Disinfectant Gel (Resource Recovery & Trading)
  • Handzer (Tropicosmeticos)
  • Hello Kitty (4E Global)
  • Herbacil (Broncolin)
  • Honeykeeper (4E Global)
  • In Good Hands (Plastico Las Palmas)
  • Inatek (Botanicals Internacional)
  • Incredible Products (Pacific Coast)
  • Jalisco (Grupo Plast)
  • Jaloma (Laboratorios Jaloma)
  • Just Hand Sanitizer Single-Use Packs (Open Book Extracts, North Carolina)
  • Klar and Danver (4E Global)
  • Kleanz (Tropicosmeticos)
  • Lavar (Eskbiochem)
  • Leafree (Yangzhou Olande Cosmetic)
  • Leiper's (Leiper's Fork Distillery, Tennessee)
  • Lite'n Foamy by Roque Plast (Spartan Chemical Co Inc., Ohio)
  • LumiSkin (AAA Cosmetica)
  • Lux Eoi (Real Clean Distribuciones)
  • M Hand Sanitizer (Grupo Plast)
  • Medical Mary Clean (Noticias Mexico Hoy Grupo)
  • Modesa (Albek de Mexico)
  • Mystic Shield Protection (Mystic International)
  • NEXT (Albek de Mexico)
  • NuuxSan (Albek de Mexico)
  • O.K. Pharmacy (Grupo Plast)
  • Optimus (Liqesa Exportacion)
  • OZO (Ismar Soluciones Dinámicas)
  • Parabola (Tropicosmeticos)
  • Plus Advanced (Limpo Quimicos)
  • Purity (Soluciones Cosmeticas)
  • QualitaMed (AAA Cosmetica
  • ResQue 1st (Botanicals Internacional)
  • Saniderm (Eskbiochem)
  • Sayab (JG Atlas Comercios)
  • Scent Theory - Keep It Clean (Real Clean Distribuciones)
  • Selecto (Maquiladora Miniara)
  • 70% Alcohol Gel Hand Sanitizer (Botanicals Internacional)
  • Shine and Clean Hand Sanitizer (Maquiladora Miniara)
  • SkinGuard24 All-Day (SG24 LLC, Georgia)
  • Total Pure (Botanicals Internacional)
  • TriCleanz (Tritanium Labs USA LLC, Illinois)
  • TriCleanz (Incredible Products)
  • Urbane Bath and Body (Tropicosmeticos)
  • Vidanos Easy Cleaning (DDI Multinacional)
  • Volu-Sol (Volu-Sol, Inc., Utah)
  • Wave (Tropicosmeticos)
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