If You're Using This Hand Sanitizer, Stop Immediately, FDA Says in New Warning

The agency says the product poses a potentially serious health risk.

Hand sanitizer has always played a valuable role in keeping germs and bacteria at bay as we make our way through seemingly gross public places. But society's relationship with the product has fundamentally changed over the past two-and-a-half years thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, what was once a nice convenience between hand=washing sessions has become a regular fixture of everyday life, with dispensers installed all over and personal bottles getting toted around just in case a quick clean is needed. But even though the product is meant to keep us safe and healthy, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) just announced a recall of one hand sanitizer due to a potentially serious risk. Read on to see which item you should stop using right away.

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There have recently been several major recalls on certain OTC and personal products.

A closeup of hands squeezing toothpaste onto a toothbrush
iStock / RealPeopleGroup

Personal hygiene products, toiletries, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, and personal items are all regulated in the same way that food and beverage items are to ensure safety. And recently, there have been a few cases in which companies have pulled products from the shelves due to a potential health risk.

Earlier this summer, Tennessee-based Vi-Jon, LLC announced a recall of its Magnesium Citrate Saline Laxative Oral Solution. The July 25 notice expanded a previous recall to include all lots of its grape-, lemon-, and cherry-flavored products available for purchase at Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Publix, Kroger, and Harris Teeter stores, among other locations. The company pulled the medicine from shelves after third-party microbial testing discovered Gluconacetobacter liquefaciens bacteria, a potentially dangerous microorganism.

And on Sept. 16, the FDA announced that Family Dollar had issued a voluntary recall of products it carries that the agency regulates. In one notice, the discount retailer said 41 OTC "medical devices" such as pregnancy tests, contact lens solutions, denture cleaners, denture adhesives, adhesive bandages, condoms, nasal sprays, and personal lubricants were affected. A second notice recalled several Colgate toothpaste and mouthwash products sold by the stores. In both cases, Family Dollar removed the affected items from inventory after discovering they had been "stored outside of labeled temperature requirements."

Now, the agency is warning of another potentially hazardous product.

The FDA has issued a recall for a certain brand of hand sanitizer.

Woman using hand sanitizer

On Sept. 16, the FDA announced that Florida-based Salon Technologies International, Inc., had issued a voluntary recall of one lot of its Antica Ocean Citron Hand Sanitizer (alcohol) Gel 65%. The affected products, which were sold on the consumer level, include the lot number 1166A and expiration date 6/18/2023 on the packaging.

According to the agency's notice, the product was distributed in the Seattle, Washington area. It also specifies that 512 bottles of hand sanitizer are affected by the recall.

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The recalled hand sanitizer contains a potentially dangerous chemical.

Man pouring hand sanitizer

The FDA reports that the company decided to issue the recall after firm lab testing found that the hand sanitizer contained benzene, which is classified as a carcinogen. According to the agency, people can be exposed to the cancer-causing chemical by inhalation, swallowing it, or applying it to the skin. It can then cause "cancers including leukemia, and blood cancer of the bone marrow and blood disorders which can be life-threatening" that depends on the duration and level of exposure to the carcinogen.

Here's what you should do if you have hand sanitizer that is part of the recall.

older woman concerned phone call
blackCAT / iStock

The FDA reports that so far, Salon Tech International has not received any reports of adverse effects from customers using the product. However, anyone who believes they may have experienced problems related to the item should contact their doctor or healthcare provider immediately.

The health agency advises anyone who purchased the affected product to stop using it and return it to where it was purchased. The company reports that it has reached out to its distributors to arrange for the return of the items. In addition, customers with questions about the hand sanitizer recall can reach Salon Technologies International by phone or email using the contact information posted in the FDA's notice.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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