FDA lists hand sanitizers that don't have enough alcohol to kill germs

These products don't have a high enough alcohol level and should not be used by consumers as they may not be effective at killing germs.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
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The FDA recommends not using these hand sanitzers.

Amanda Kooser/CNET

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the FDA has been testing hand sanitizers and has now released a list of products that may not actually be effective at killing germs. This time, instead of finding toxic ingredients in hand sanitizers like methanol that can be absorbed through the skin, the FDA has found some products that contain troublingly low concentrations of the good ingredients.

The list includes seven hand sanitizers that the FDA said Friday have "concerningly low levels of ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol," with the recommendation for people to avoid them.

"The agency urges consumers not to use these subpotent products and has expanded its list to include subpotent hand sanitizers, in addition to hand sanitizers that are or may be contaminated with methanol," the FDA said.

The CDC recommends using hand sanitizers that have at least 60% ethanol or ethyl alcohol -- although the CDC maintains that "no drugs, including hand sanitizers, are approved to prevent the spread of COVID-19."

Those listed include: NeoNatural from manufacturer Limpo Quimicos SA de CV; Medicare Alcohol Antiseptic Topical Solution from manufacturer Healthy Foods & Nutrition Lab de Mexico SA de CV; and Datsen Hand Sanitizer and Alcohol Antiseptic 62% Hand Sanitizer from Quimica Magna de Mexico SA de CV.

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Those sanitizers were found to have subpotent levels of ethanol. Alcohol Antiseptic 65% Hand Sanitizer, Alcohol Antiseptic 70% Hand Sanitizer and Bernal Hand Sanitizer were also made at the same Quimica Magna facility, so they have also been added to the import alert.

The FDA has recommended recalls of all those products, as well as import bans on them.

In addition to subpotent levels of ethanol, the FDA has also listed several hand sanitizers that may also have subpotent levels of benzalkonium chloride: dgreen Advanced Sanitizer Alcohol Free, dgreen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Antibacterial Gel, Hand Sanitizer, Hand Sanitizer Gel and Clean Humans Hand Sanitizer from manufacturer DEPQ Internacional S de RL de CV.

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