Health Canada announces recalls for 18 more hand sanitizers

TORONTO — Health Canada has announced the recall of more hand sanitizers, adding 18 more products to their list because of issues such as containing ingredients not allowed by Health Canada or not being authorized for sale in Canada.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, hand sanitizer sales and production have gone up, and Health Canada has issued recalls for almost 100 products previously.

In this update, posted by Health Canada on Tuesday, the agency stated that hand sanitizers are not permitted to contain “unacceptable grades of ethanol, undeclared impurities at elevated levels, or unauthorized denaturants have not been reviewed for safety or efficacy.”

Denaturant help prevent the ethanol from being consumed for alcohol content.

Two denaturants that are not permitted in hand sanitizers sold in Canada are ethyl acetate and methanol. Ethyl acetate may contribute to dry skin and irritation with frequent use, and methanol can cause more serious “dermatitis, eye irritation, upper respiratory system irritation and headaches.”

Some of the sanitizers included in this recall that contained ethyl acetate are Aerochem Liquid Hand Cleaner 70% Alcohol, JP Wiser’s Distillery, KeraSpa, Premium Hand Gel Sanitizer and Umbrell (60 mL format).

The recalling company for JP Wiser’s Distillery is Hiram Walk & Sons Distillery, a distillery in Ontario, that started to produce hand sanitizer last year to help out during the pandemic.

They aren’t the first distillery that produced hand sanitizer to end up on the recall list — two distilleries in B.C. have also had products recalled in previous recalls posted by Health Canada.

Another reason that hand sanitizers can end up on the recall list is if they include undeclared impurities at high levels, such as acetaldehyde and benzene. If found at elevated levels, both can increase the risk of cancer if frequently applied over a long period of time, and benzene can cause “drowsiness, dizziness, rapid or irregular heartbeat, and headaches.”

Hand sanitizers including acetaldehyde at elevated levels in this recall are Gigi’s Goodbye Germs Hand Sanitizer, Natural Concepts Sanitizing Gel and Peak Processing Solutions – Ethanol sanitizer 80%.

Because of the increase in demand for hand sanitizers, Health Canada did decide to permit hand sanitizers to use technical-grade ethanol, which was previously not intended for hand sanitizer. But those who use this must clearly label the product as containing this, purchase the ethanol from a select list of Health Canada authorized sellers, and include warnings for customers including to not use it on broken skin. Failure to follow this can also result in a recall.

Some of the new products on the recall list are also improperly labelled or not authorized to be sold in Canada.

This is the full list of the hand sanitizers affected in this recall:

  • Aerochem Liquid Hand Cleaner 70% Alcohol
  • Bio-Odeur
  • Defenz
  • Gigi’s Goodbye Germs Hand Sanitizer
  • JP Wiser’s Distillery
  • KeraSpa
  • Natural Concepts Sanitizing Gel
  • Peak Processing Solutions – Ethanol sanitizer 80%
  • Preference Pre-Quat Sanitizer
  • Premium Hand Gel Sanitizer
  • Premium Hand Sanitizer
  • Puricia
  • Safe-Guard Product Canada Hand Sanitizer
  • Salon Solution Waterless Hand Wash
  • SunnaPure Hand Sanitizer Spray
  • T-1000
  • TerraPure Hand Sanitizer
  • Umbrell (60 mL format)

A full list of the lot numbers for each product affected by the recall is listed on Health Canada’s website, along with full details for the reason behind the recall of each product.

Health Canada is advising consumers to cease using these products, and has directed the companies to cease producing them.

If you have used a product listed here and have health concerns, Health Canada asks that you direct questions to your health care provider.

The list of previously recalled hand sanitizers can be found here, and a list of hand sanitizers that are authorized by Health Canada can be found here.

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