by daniel_g 18 hours ago18 hours ago 12.7kviews
At the height of the COVID-19 calamity in March & April of 2020, there was a frenzy to stockpile on hand sanitizer.
Across the globe, manufacturers went into overdrive producing enough hand sanitizer for everyone to feel safe that their hands had zero germs.
But the lightning production of hand sanitizers last year appears to be having a detrimental outcome to public health.
A New Haven, Connecticut based online pharmacy tested 260 hand sanitizer bottles from 168 brands.
The results were an eye-opener to the potential dangers of using hand sanitizer.
44 bottles contained detectable levels of benzene, a carcinogen that can cause blood cancers such as leukemia.
21 bottles contained levels of benzene above the FDA-recommended limit.
And 1 bottle even had 8 times the FDA-recommended limit.
The brands with the highest levels of benzene hit the market during the spring of 2020.
A recall process has begun, but that’s nearly one year after these tainted products hit the shelves.
Some hand sanitizers that popped up during the coronavirus pandemic to help meet the demand, contain high levels of a cancer-causing chemical, a new analysis finds.
Valisure, an online pharmacy based in New Haven, Connecticut, said it has detected benzene in several batches across multiple brands of hand sanitizer.
The product is considered as dangerous as asbestos and several companies had levels up to eight times the limit recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
‘The presence of benzene, a known human carcinogen, and multiple other contaminants, in products widely recommended for the prevention of spreading the SARS-CoV-2 virus causing COVID-19 and regularly used by adults and children in large volumes makes these findings especially troubling,’ Valisure wrote in a letter to the FDA.
Benzene is a liquid chemical that is typically colorless but, at room temperature, can become a light yellow color.
It is naturally found in volcanoes and as a result of forest fires, but is also used to make several products including detergents, dyes, lubricants and rubbers.
Being exposed to high levels of benzene can cause cells to not works correctly such as causing bone marrow to not produce enough red blood cells or damaging the immune system to lose white blood cells, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has identified benzene as a carcinogen, putting it in the highest risk category, Group 1, with other chemicals such as asbestos.
Benzene has been linked to blood cancers such as leukemia.
The FDA currently recommends a limit of two ppm (part per million) for liquid hand sanitizer, but does not have recommendations for others such as sprays.
For its analysis, Valisure sampled 260 bottles from 168 brands sold at various big box stores, supermarkets, pharmacies and online retailers across the country.
Of the liquid and non-liquid products tested, 44 batches, or 17 percent, had detectable levels of benzene.
A total of 21 bottles, or eight percent of the supply, contained levels of benzene above two parts per million.
An eight-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer made by company artnaturals had the highest level of benzene at 16 parts per million.
Test results by the online pharmacy were verified by Yale University’s Chemical and Biophysical Instrumentation Center and Boston Analytics, a private laboratory.
All of the products with the highest levels of benzene began selling their products in either April or May 2020, according to FDA records, when mainstays were disappearing off of shelves.
Valisure believes some of the sanitizers may have become contaminated with benzene because the chemical is sometimes used in alcohol purification, although it is supposed to be removed before the hand sanitizer is packaged.
Valisure has drafted a citizen petition to the FDA, identifying the products and asking the agency to recall the batches, conduct its own analysis and to develop guidance documents defining the limit of benzene for all hand sanitizers.
This is not the first time potentially toxic hand sanitizers have come under public scrutiny.
In June 2020, the FDA warned Americans to stop using nine hand sanitizers because they contained varying amounts of methanol.
To wash your hands, stick to good ole’ soap & water instead of these toxic chemicals.
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