For convenience, individuals carry hand sanitizers with them. They also use it when there is no available hand soap in an area. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said they would still have to continue studying the claims of the product.
The most common claim of manufacturers is that hand sanitizers eliminate 99.9 percent of germs, especially MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Disputing the assertation, Dr. Edward Cox of the FDA’s Antimicrobial Products department noted that MRSA is a highly-active organism which attacks the immune system and causes skin infections.
Because of this, the FDA investigated the claims. They established these are, as of now, still unproven. Debora Autor, the compliance director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, shared that these false claims mislead consumers regarding their protection from a possibly deadly infection. She added that the FDA does not approve products that say they could prevent illnesses from MRSA, E. coli, salmonella, and H1N1.
However, this does not mean that they shall order a pull out of hand sanitizers. Instead, they ask product companies to submit adequate evidence that could classify their merchandise in the “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) category.
They also seek more data regarding three common ingredients of hand sanitizers namely ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, and benzalkonium chloride. The FDA shall use the proofs to rule on its long-term use, especially for women who are expecting and children.
Other health agencies still recommend the use of soap and water for sanitation. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that people should only use hand sanitizers when necessary. They also added that hand sanitizers are not for long-term use as when the hands are filthy.
Aside from that, the CDC also suggest using the correct amount according to the product label. People should also rub the sanitizer on their hands until they are dry as opposed to washing the hands after or wiping them. Other health experts also recommend using sanitizers that have a higher alcohol concentration, specifically around 60 percent alcohol content.