Hand Sanitizers Questioned by FDA

hand sanitizers

FDA will verify the effectiveness of hand sanitizers and the risks the frequent use may impose on health.

FDA announced that it would start to verify the quality of hand sanitizers and their efficiency against bacteria. The agency requested markers from producers and the list of active ingredients contained by the sanitizers in order to verify they are reducing bacteria and that they are not harming the health after multiple uses.

The products that are taken into consideration are gels, rubs, and towelettes. The most vulnerable individuals to the adverse effects of frequent use are children and pregnant women.

“These products provide a convenient alternative when hand washing with plain soap and water is unavailable, but it’s our responsibility to determine whether these products are safe and effective so that consumers can be confident when using them for themselves and their families multiple times a day,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, the director of FDA Evaluation and Research Department.

The ingredient that is most used in hand sanitizers is alcohol, taking the form of ethanol or ethyl alcohol. Other substances include isopropyl alcohol and benzalkonium chloride.

However, the agency states that new studies show that these components may not be more harmful than thought. The researchers found a high level of antiseptic in urine and blood for people who regularly used hand sanitizers, showing that the substances may be absorbed in the organism.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the best method to avoid bacteria is washing the hands with soap and running water. Also useful have proved to be the products that contain at least 60% alcohol.

Another observation is that hand sanitizers are used in places where the risk of infection is low, such as at home, at school or work.

The industry leaders are open to collaborating with FDA, and they offered to provide all additional information necessary for the agency to decide the efficiency of their products.

Medical care representatives also endorse FDA’s decision and explain that it is important to know if the use of antiseptics is indeed reducing the number of bacteria and if the use is rational or companies use an improper quantity that may produce health problems to their clients.

Consumers should also be warned in relation to the effects of hand sanitizers’ abuse, and companies should be monitored in regards to the correct substances and quantities that are used as ingredients.

Medical experts say that the most important part of washing is the mechanical scrubbing and the debris removal. The recommended time that should be spent while scrubbing is at least 20 seconds.

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