(UNDATED) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers about alcohol-based hand sanitizers that are being packaged in containers that may appear as food or drinks and may put consumers at risk of serious injury or death if ingested.
The agency has discovered that some hand sanitizers are being packaged in beer cans, children’s food pouches, water bottles, juice bottles, and vodka bottles.
Additionally, the FDA has found hand sanitizers that contain food flavors, such as chocolate or raspberry.
In one recent example of consumer confusion, the FDA received a report that a consumer purchased a bottle they thought to be drinking water but was in fact hand sanitizer. The agency also received a report from a retailer about a hand sanitizer product marketed with cartoons for children that was in a pouch that resembles a snack. Drinking only a small amount of hand sanitizer is potentially lethal to a young child, who may be attracted by a pleasant smell or brightly colored bottle of hand sanitizer.
Hand sanitizer can be toxic when ingested. The FDA continues to see an increasing number of adverse events with hand sanitizer ingestion, including cardiac effects, effects on the central nervous system, hospitalizations and death, primarily reported to poison control centers and state departments of health. For more information, consumers should refer to the FDA’s guidelines on safe use of hand sanitizer as well as a question and answer page.
The FDA encourages health care professionals, consumers and patients to report adverse events or quality problems experienced with the use of hand sanitizers to FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program (please provide the agency with as much information to identify the product as possible).
The FDA continues to proactively work with manufacturers to recall potentially dangerous hand sanitizer products and is strongly encouraging retailers to remove these products from store shelves and online marketplaces.
A list of hand sanitizer products the FDA urges consumers not to use, along with a description for consumers on how to use the list, has been posted to the agency’s website, which is being updated regularly.