(WJW) — A study by online pharmacy, Valisure, says samples from 44 hand sanitizers made to meet demand during the coronavirus pandemic contain an ingredient known to cause cancer in humans.
According to the study, the Food and Drug Administration states benzene should not be used in the manufacture of any drug product because of its toxicity. But to meet the high demand for sanitizer during the pandemic, the FDA allowed an interim limit of 2 parts per million for benzene in sanitizers.
Of 260 hand sanitizer products tested, 44 batches contained benzene with the highest level containing over eight times that interim limit.
Benzene is associated with blood cancers like leukemia, making absorption through the skin.
The study also detected high levels of methanol and acetaldehyde, another ingredient that is “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
According to Valisure, the company has asked the FDA to request an immediate recall of the batches, update its guidance and investigate the products.
“The detection of hand sanitizer products that contain high levels of benzene is cause for significant concern as these products are potentially being used in high volumes several times daily by adults and children alike. We urge FDA and manufacturers to act expeditiously to remove the contaminated lots from the market. It is also important for consumers to understand that uncontaminated hand sanitizer products are available and should continue to be used,” said David Light, founder and CEO of Valisure.
The FDA over the last year added over 140 hand sanitizers to a list of products that should be avoided after they tested positive for methanol contamination. Some have been recalled, while others were recommended for recalls.
The FDA said it saw a spike in the number of hand sanitizer products labeled to contain ethanol but have tested positive for methanol, which can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested.
The complete list can be found on the FDA’s site.