The popularity of hand-sanitizing products has rocketed in the last decade. Now you are likely to see them in all manner of public places, including restaurants, offices and schools. However, the FDA is set to investigate them amidst concerns over their effectiveness and even some potential health risks to the general public from ongoing use of them.
Peace of Mind?
Many Americans use them regularly for peace of mind. Indeed, a survey reported by PRNewswire showed that 81% of Americans who use hand sanitizer said that they did so because they feared germs would make them sick. However, the FDA is concerned that the levels of ethanol and ethyl alcohol contained within most hand-sanitizing products could be doing that instead. And while they are eager not to cause alarm – there are no immediate health risks from these substances, after all – they are planning to possibly re-assess the bold claims that many hand-sanitizing products make about ‘killing all germs’ and being super-effective.
Potential Health Threats
One of the key purposes of the investigation is to assess the potential effects of prolonged use of three key ingredients within most hand-sanitizing products – alcohol, ethanol and a form of chloride. They are particularly interested in the impact they could have on the hormones and reproductive system of women who are pregnant or of child-bearing age or who are breastfeeding. If significant levels of any of these substances were present in blood or urine, it could be a sign that they are being absorbed by the body in a way that could cause health issues.
The FDA third party review also wants to look into any possible links between daily use of these so called antiseptic products and the emergence of new strains of viruses and bugs that are resistant to antibiotics.
Major companies will have a year to submit the information the FDA have requested before any final decisions are made. If you are wondering how long does it take to get a FDA 510k approved, then it’s unlikely this issue will go that far.
But the doubts expressed by the FDA are bound to worry consumers and may lead to a drop in sales for a number of firms that are making the products.