Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

FDA has a few questions for makers of hand sanitizer (w/video)

WASHINGTON — Federal health officials want to know whether hand sanitizers used by millions of Americans work as well as manufacturers claim — and whether there are any health risks to their growing use.

The Food and Drug Administration is asking for new studies on how the antiseptic gels and rubs fight germs and get absorbed into the body, with a particular focus on children and pregnant women. The proposal unveiled Wednesday is part of an ongoing government effort to review decades-old chemicals that have never had comprehensive federal reviews.

Agency officials stressed that the review "does not mean the FDA believes these products are ineffective or unsafe."

Hand sanitizers have become nearly ubiquitous over the past 20 years, offered in workplaces, schools, restaurants and other public spaces to reduce the spread of germs. Since 2009, about 90 percent of sanitizers sold to the public have included either ethanol or ethyl alcohol, according to agency officials.

Under current regulations, manufacturers can make broad claims about their products' effectiveness in killing germs. Bottles of Purell hand sanitizer, for example, say: "Kills 99.99 percent of illness-causing germs."

FDA regulators suggested they may tighten such claims after reviewing the information submitted by manufacturers.

"We're not trying to alarm people," said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's drug center. "Obviously, ethanol and humans have coexisted for a long time, so there's a lot that's known about it."

But the agency has concerns about the possible long-term consequences of frequent use by children and women of child-bearing age, particularly those who are pregnant or breast feeding. The agency's proposal would require manufacturers to study whether three anti-germ ingredients — ethanol, alcohol and a type of chloride — show up in blood or urine after repeated, daily use. That could mean that the chemicals may be affecting the reproductive system or the production of hormones.

Regulators are also concerned about possible links between use of antiseptic chemicals and the emergence of so-called superbug bacteria, which are resistant to antibiotics.

"We need to get this additional information so if there are situations where caution is warranted, we can label that or inform the public," Woodcock said.

The FDA wants to know if hand sanitizers are as effective as manufacturers claim and whether they pose any health risks.

Associated Press

The FDA wants to know if hand sanitizers are as effective as manufacturers claim and whether they pose any health risks.

FDA has a few questions for makers of hand sanitizer (w/video) 06/29/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 29, 2016 9:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)

    World

    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.