By Dr. Phyllis D. Gearring-Anderson
Seattle King County NAACP
With the spread of the Coronavirus and the indication that hand sanitizers can effectively kill this virus, the sale of hand sanitizers has increased exponentially. The great demand and initial shortages have produced new manufacturers and increased production of this product.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has discovered that some hand sanitizers are labeled as meeting FDA standards, but when tested they contain potentially harmful and toxic forms of alcohol.
Some hand sanitizers are labeled as containing Ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol), but when tested they also contain potentially dangerous Methanol (also known as wood alcohol). Ingestion of Methanol, or even absorption through the skin, can cause serious consequences such as blindness, hospitalization and even death. Methanol is especially harmful to infants and children if ingested.
For a full list of hand sanitizers to avoid, go to the FDA Website:
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends frequent handwashing with soap and water for 20 seconds, as the preferred method of preventing the spread of Coronavirus. If soap and water is not available, hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethanol is recommended. The FDA has not formally approved or recommended any manufacturer, but does monitor and test sanitizers that enter the market.
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