Topic: Carcinogen Benzene Reportedly in Hand Sanitizer: How to Avoid It
Hand sanitizer, long relied on to help prevent infection, has become extraordinarily important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But not all brands are made to the same standards. Some may include harmful ingredients like methanolTrusted Source, which can be toxic when used on skin.
Recently, online pharmacy Valisure sounded the alarm over what the company says are hand sanitizer batches contaminated with the cancer-causing chemical benzeneTrusted Source.
Valisure has submitted a citizen petition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates hand sanitizer, requesting the FDA issue an immediate recall of the affected batches and update guidance to include an exposure limit for benzene.
“Out of the 44 batches of hand sanitizer containing benzene, at least 20 (45%) have product labels that indicate the use of additional ingredients to improve the smell, taste, or appearance, which do not adhere to FDA guidance,” the company wrote on its website.
Valisure warned that this could also make hand sanitizer more appealing to children and increase the risk of ingestion.
According to the citizen petition, the company analyzed 260 unique batches of hand sanitizer from 168 brands.
The analysis found 44 batches contained benzene levels of at least 0.1 parts per million (ppm).
Twenty-one batches, including both liquid and gel hand sanitizers, had levels above the 2 ppm interim limitTrusted Source set by the FDA.
The highest level detected was 16.1 ppm, over eight times the FDA limit.
“BenzeneTrusted Source is a known human carcinogen and is known to cause cancer (leukemia),” Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician on staff at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told Healthline.
“It’s unclear how the contamination occurred but may be related to manufacturing alcohol, a raw material to make hand sanitizers, which is antibacterial [and] goes through a purification process,” he said.
Topic Discussed: Carcinogen Benzene Reportedly in Hand Sanitizer: How to Avoid It