What should I look for in a hand sanitizer?

Coronavirus

(Getty Images)

(AP/NEXSTAR) – What should I look for in a hand sanitizer?

Pick one that contains mostly alcohol, and has few other ingredients.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says hand sanitizers should be at least 60% ethyl alcohol or 70% isopropyl alcohol. Other approved ingredients may include sterile distilled water, hydrogen peroxide and glycerin, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

You should avoid anything with methanol or 1-propanol, both of which can be highly toxic. The FDA has recalled 175 brands of hand sanitizer for having one of these ingredients.

The FDA also warns people to watch out for hand sanitizers packaged in food and drink containers, since accidentally ingesting them could be dangerous.

Health officials also say to avoid hand sanitizers that replace alcohol with benzalkonium chloride, which is less effective at killing certain bacteria and viruses. Making your own sanitizers isn’t encouraged either; the wrong mix of chemicals can be ineffective or cause skin burns.

And you should only use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash your hands with soap and water, says Barun Mathema, an infectious disease researcher at Columbia University. Hand washing is better at removing more germs.

The FDA recently warned Americans about alcohol-based hand sanitizers that resemble food and beverages. The agency warns that these products can put consumers at risk of serious injury or death if ingested.

There are at least 165 hand sanitizers that the FDA has added to its list of toxic products, some of which have already been recalled while others are being recommended for recalls. The FDA says it has seen a spike in the number of hand sanitizer products labeled to contain ethanol but have tested positive for methanol, which can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested.

Latest Stories

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss

Coronavirus News

More Coronavirus

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

Your Local Election HQ

More Election

Local Sports

EXCEPTIONAL ATHLETE: Emily LaChapell

GAME OF THE WEEK: FREEDOM VS WRIGHTSTOWN

GBN 12/1/21 - LOOK AT PLAYOFF PICTURE

GBN 12/1/21 - CHALLENGE OR NO CHALLENGE

GBN 12/1/21 - LETS GET SOCIAL

GBN 12/2/21 - WELCOME BACK DEFENSE