Anapol Weiss Associate Paola Pearson was recently featured in The Legal Intelligencer with her timely and informational article, “Is Your Hand Sanitizer Safe? Dangerous Products in the COVID-19 Era.”
In her article, Paola discusses how shortages and rationing of once-ubiquitous household products like disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer have caused some potentially serious problems. The FDA relaxed regulations over acceptable ingredients to be used in hand sanitizer to help combat the global shortage. This means organizations that compound hand sanitizer have more flexibility over the sources of alcohol usable to make hand sanitizers. Additionally, organizations who have not traditionally produced hand sanitizers are now doing so, including liquor companies.
Paola goes on to share that the FDA has revealed that some fuel ethanol manufactures “showed some of their alcohol products contained gasoline and benzene, known human carcinogens (cancer-causing agents).” The FDA determined that using such products in small quantities was an acceptable risk to take, given the global health crisis from the novel coronavirus pandemic.
A final concern is that the CDC has released several warnings to the public over toxic and ineffective hand sanitizers that have been found on the market. The most recent warning over specific ingredients can be found here, including methanol. Furthermore, consumers injured by unsafe hand sanitizers may face challenges in holding manufacturers responsible, which could leave some consumers with little to no recourse.
Paola concludes with: “While well intentioned, the FDA’s relaxed restrictions came with a price. Some of the companies that capitalized on the business opportunities created by the pandemic and the FDA’s eased oversight of hand sanitizers chose to prioritize profits over consumer safety. Even when we buy products intended to protect us and our families, we cannot be certain of our safety. As we navigate through these unprecedented times, the emergence of dangerously defective hand sanitizers shows we need to be particularly mindful of the products we bring into our homes.
Paola Pearson is an associate at Anapol Weiss where she focuses her practice primarily on catastrophic injury cases and class actions as well as mass tort litigation. To learn more about and to contact Paola Pearson, click here.