Benzene, a substance capable of causing cancer, was found in batches of multiple hand sanitizer brands.
Valisure independent lab and pharmacy tested 260 hand sanitizer products and found 44 batches contained benzene.
“Honestly, I was shocked,” Valisure CEO David Light said. “It might very well be the most well-known… compound that is dangerous to humans.”
The leading hand sanitizer brand, Purell, and many others had no detectable levels of benzene.
Benzene is recognized by the CDC, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and the World Health Organization to cause cancer in humans. The FDA states benzene should not be used in any drug product due to its toxicity.
Valisure is requesting the FDA further investigates the batches to confirm whether the contaminated batches are also inconsistent with FDA guidance to not add inactive ingredients, as some highly contaminated batches appeared to be specifically marketed for children.
The US Food and Drug Administration has placed all alcohol-based hand sanitizers from Mexico on a countrywide "import alert"!
"Over the course of the ongoing pandemic, the agency has seen a sharp increase in hand sanitizer products from Mexico that were labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but tested positive for methanol contamination," the FDA said.
Methanol, or wood alcohol can be toxic when absorbed through the skin and can be life-threatening if ingested.
"Consumer use of hand sanitizers has increased significantly during the coronavirus pandemic, especially when soap and water are not accessible, and the availability of poor-quality products with dangerous and unacceptable ingredients will not be tolerated," Judy McMeekin, FDA associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, said. "Today's actions are necessary to protect the safe supply of alcohol-based hand sanitizers. We will continue to work with our stakeholders to ensure the availability of safe products and to communicate vital information with the health and safety of U.S. consumers in mind."
The FDA found that 84% of the samples that were analyzed were not in compliance with the FDA's regulations and more than half of the samples were found to contain toxic ingredients.
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