A new problem with hand sanitizers: not strong enough to kill COVID-19


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CLEVELAND -- Two months after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discovered that consumers across the country were unwittingly buying and using toxic hand sanitizers to combat the coronavirus, the agency is notifying the public about a completely different problem. Now, nearly two dozen sanitizers have been flagged for not containing enough active ingredients to kill the virus that causes COVID-19. And one has been detected to contain a substance possibly more toxic than methanol: It’s 1-propanol. 

With these issues in mind, the FDA’s do-not-use list has expanded this week to about 100 brands and 150 varieties, including, for the first time, a sanitizer produced in China. Also added to the list in recent days were sanitizers manufactured in Ohio, Texas, Utah and North Carolina. Most of the other problematic brands were produced in Mexico. 

To be effective, sanitizers should contain high percentages of either of two forms of alcohol  -- at least 60 percent ethanol or 70 percent isopropanol -- that are safe on human skin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.In the last 10 days, the FDA has identified 20 sanitizers that didn’t contain enough ethanol, isopropyl or another active ingredient to be effective. 

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