FDA Recalls Dozens of Toxic Hand Sanitizers
Hand sanitizers are everywhere these days — store counters, car cup holders and even belt loops — as people try to avoid coronavirus germs. The ubiquity of this hygiene staple is not without its problems though, and the concern keeps growing as the FDA recently recalled 77 hand sanitizers for containing dangerous levels of methanol, CBS News reported.
Many of the hand sanitizers that were recalled for containing methanol, or wood alcohol, are readily available at leading stores like Walmart and Target. While the products claim they contain ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, FDA testing showed that they actually contain methanol, which can lead to blindness and even death if ingested, according to The Washington Post.
As demand for hand sanitizers has skyrocketed, manufacturers have flooded the market, with some cutting corners as regulators struggle to keep up with the demand. The FDA keeps a running tally of the recalled products on its website, The Washington Post reported.
According to The Washington Post, the recalled products are manufactured by various companies in Mexico, and carried by BJ's Wholesale Club, Costco, Target and Walmart. The FDA included several types of Blumen brand hand sanitizer on the recall list and said an import alert was attached earlier this month to prevent them from entering the country.
Real Clean Distribuciones has recalled its Scent Theory Keep Clean and Keep It Clean, Born Basic, and Lux Eoi hand sanitizers, The Miami Herald found. It also reported that Target sold Born Basic Anti-Bac Hand Sanitizer, while Walmart sold Scent Theory at stores in 17 states.
The FDA also said that methanol can be toxic when it is rubbed into the skin, according to The Miami Herald.
"Unfortunately, there are some companies taking advantage of the increased usage of hand sanitizer during the coronavirus pandemic and putting lives at risk by selling products with dangerous and unacceptable ingredients," FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in early July, according to Forbes. "Consumers and health care providers should not use methanol-containing hand sanitizers," Hahn added.
Instead, consumers should immediately discard recalled hand sanitizers in hazardous waste containers. "Do not flush or pour these products down the drain," the agency told CBS News.
The FDA also advised Americans to be wary of products that claim to be "FDA-approved," since that designation does not exist for hand sanitizers. Additionally, the agency warned against bottles claiming to provide protection for "up to 24 hours," The Washington Post reported.
The following is the latest available list of potentially toxic hand sanitizers, according to the FDA:
- 4E Global's Blumen Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer with 70% Alcohol
- 4E Global's Blumen Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear Ethyl Alcohol 70%
- 4E Global's Blumen Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear
- 4E Global's Klar and Danver Instant Hand Sanitizer (labeled with Greenbrier International Inc.)
- 4E Global's Modesa Instant Hand Sanitizer Moisturizers and Vitamin E
- 4E Global's Blumen Advanced Hand Sanitizer
- 4E Global's Blumen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Aloe
- 4E Global's Blumen Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Lavender
- 4E Global's Blumen Clear Lear Advanced Hand Sanitizer
- 4E Global's Blumen Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer
- 4E Global's The Honeykeeper Hand Sanitizer
- 4E Global's Blumen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Clear
- 4E Global's Blumen Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer
- 4E Global's Blumen Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe
- 4E Global's Blumen Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Lavender
- 4E Global's Blumen Aloe Advanced Hand Sanitizer, with 70% Alcohol
- 4E Global's Blumen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Lavender, with 70% alcohol
- 4E Global's Blumen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Aloe, with 70% alcohol
- 4E Global's Blumen Antibacterial Fresh Citrus Hand Sanitizer
- 4E Global's Blumen Hand Sanitizer Fresh Citrus
- 4E Global's Klar and Danver Instant Hand Sanitizer
- 4E Global's Hello Kitty by Sanrio Hand Sanitizer
- 4E Global's Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer (Vitamin E and Aloe)
- 4E Global's Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer (Aloe and Moisturizers)
- 4E Global's Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer Vitamin E and Aloe
- 4E Global's Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe and Moisturizers
- 4E Global's Blumen Instant Hand Sanitizer Fragrance Free
- 4E Global's Blumen Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe Vera
- 4E Global's Assured Aloe
- AAA Cosmetica's bio aaa Advance Hand Sanitizer
- AAA Cosmetica's LumiSkin Advance Hand Sanitizer 4 oz
- AAA Cosmetica's LumiSkin Advance Hand Sanitizer 16 oz
- AAA Cosmetica's QualitaMed Hand Sanitizer
- DDI Multinacional's Earths Amenities Instant Unscented Hand Sanitizer with Aloe Vera Advanced
- DDI Multinacional's Hand Sanitizer Agavespa Skincare
- DDI Multinacional's Vidanos Easy Cleaning Rentals Hand Sanitizer Agavespa Skincare
- Eskbiochem's All-Clean Hand Sanitizer
- Eskbiochem's Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer
- Eskbiochem's Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer
- Eskbiochem's The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer
- Eskbiochem's CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
- Eskbiochem's CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol
- Eskbiochem's CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
- Eskbiochem's Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer
- Grupo Insoma's Hand sanitizer Gel Unscented 70% Alcohol
- Limpo Quimicos' Andy's Best
- Limpo Quimicos' Andy's
- Limpo Quimicos' Gelclor
- Limpo Quimicos' NeoNatural
- Limpo Quimicos' Plus Advanced
- Liqesa Exportacion or Liq-E-S.A.'s Optimus Lubricants Instant Hand Sanitizer
- Maquiladora Miniara's Shine and Clean Hand Sanitizer
- Maquiladora Miniara's Selecto Hand Sanitizer
- Mystic International's Mystic Shield Protection hand sanitizer
- Soluciones Cosmeticas' Bersih Hand Sanitizer Gel Fragrance Free
- Soluciones Cosmeticas' Antiseptic Alcohol 70% Topical Solution hand sanitizer
- Soluciones Cosmeticas' Hand sanitizer (labeled with Wet Look Janitorial and Gardening Corp.)
- Tropicosmeticos' Britz Hand Sanitizer Ethyl Alcohol 70%
- Yara Elena De La Garza Perez Nieto's Daesi hand sanitizer
- Real Clean Distribuciones's Born Basic Anti-Bac Hand Sanitizer
- Real Clean Distribuciones's Anti-Bac Hand Sanitizer
- Real Clean Distribuciones's Scent Theory – Keep It Clean – Pure Clean Anti-bacterial Hand Sanitizer
- Real Clean Distribuciones's Cavalry
- Real Clean Distribuciones's ENLIVEN Hand Sanitizing Gel
- Real Clean Distribuciones's Lux Eoi Hand Sanitizing Gel
- Real Clean Distribuciones's Keep It Clean
- Real Clean Distribuciones's Hand Sanitizer
- MXL Comercial's Hand Sanitizer Disinfectant Gel 70% Ethyl Alcohol (labeled with Resource Recovery & Trading LLC)
- MXL Comercial's Hand Sanitizer Disinfectant Gel 70% Ethyl Alcohol Rinse Free Hand Rub (labeled with Resource Recovery & Trading LLC)
- ITECH 361's All Clean Hand Sanitizer, Moisturizer and Disinfectant
- Transliquid Technologies's Mystic Shield Protection hand sanitizer
- Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer
- Why Hand-Washing Really Is as Important as Doctors Say - EcoWatch ›
- What to Do if There's a Disinfectant Shortage in Your Area - EcoWatch ›
- FDA Expands List of Potentially Deadly Hand Sanitizers - EcoWatch ›
- The FDA Now Warns Against Using More Than 100 Hand Sanitizers - EcoWatch ›
New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern Wins Historic Victory Following Science-Based Leadership on COVID and Climate
- New Zealand's Ardern Pledges 100% Renewable Energy by 2030 if ... ›
- New Zealand Plans to Require Climate Risk Reporting - EcoWatch ›
- New Zealand Will Consider Climate Crisis in All Major Policy ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Laura Beil
Consumers have long turned to vitamins and herbs to try to protect themselves from disease. This pandemic is no different — especially with headlines that scream "This supplement could save you from coronavirus."
Vitamin D<p><strong>What it is: </strong>Called "the sunshine vitamin" because the body makes it naturally in the presence of ultraviolet light, <a href="https://www.sciencenews.org/article/vitamin-d-supplements-lose-luster" target="_blank">Vitamin D is one of the most heavily studied</a> supplements (<em>SN: 1/27/19</em>). <a href="https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines/guidelines/appendix-12/" target="_blank">Certain foods</a>, including fish and fortified milk products, are also high in the vitamin.</p><p><strong>Why it might help: </strong>Vitamin D is a hormone building block that helps strengthen the immune system.</p><p><strong>How it works for other infections:</strong> In 2017, the <em>British Medical Journal</em> published a meta-analysis that suggested a daily vitamin D supplement <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/356/bmj.i6583" target="_blank">might help prevent respiratory infections</a>, particularly in people who are deficient in the vitamin.</p><p>But one key word here is <em>deficient. </em>That risk is highest during dark winters at high latitudes and among people with more color in their skin (melanin, a pigment that's higher in darker skin, inhibits the production of vitamin D).</p><p>"If you have enough vitamin D in your body, the evidence doesn't stack up to say that giving you more will make a real difference," says Susan Lanham-New, head of the Nutritional Sciences Department at the University of Surrey in England.</p><p>And taking too much can create new health problems, stressing certain internal organs and leading to a dangerously high calcium buildup in the blood. The recommended daily allowance for adults is 600 to 800 International Units per day, and the upper limit is considered to be 4,000 IUs per day.</p><p><strong>What we know about Vitamin D and COVID-19:</strong> Few studies have looked directly at whether vitamin D makes a difference in COVID.</p>
Zinc<p><strong>What it is: </strong>Zinc, a mineral found in cells all over the body, is found naturally in certain meats, beans and oysters.</p><p><strong>Why it might help: </strong>It plays several supportive roles in the immune system, which is why zinc lozenges are always hot sellers in cold and flu season. Zinc also helps with cell division and growth.</p><p><strong>How it works for other infections: </strong><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6457799/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Studies of using zinc for colds</a> — which are frequently caused by coronaviruses — suggest that using a supplement right after symptoms start might make them go away quicker. That said, a clinical trial from researchers in Finland and the United Kingdom, published in January in <em>BMJ Open</em> <a href="https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/10/1/e031662" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">did not find any value for zinc lozenges</a> for the treatment of colds. Some researchers have theorized that inconsistencies in data for colds may be explained by varying amounts of zinc released in different lozenges.</p><p><strong>What we know about zinc and COVID-19:</strong> The mineral is promising enough that it was added to some early studies of hydroxychloroquine, a drug tested early in the pandemic. (Studies have since shown that <a href="https://www.sciencenews.org/article/covid-19-coronavirus-hydroxychloroquine-no-evidence-treatment" target="_blank">hydroxychloroquine can't prevent or treat COVID-19</a> (<em>SN: 8/2/20</em>).)</p>
Vitamin C<p><strong>What it is: </strong>Also called L-ascorbic acid, vitamin C has a long list of roles in the body. It's found naturally in fruits and vegetables, especially citrus, peppers and tomatoes.</p><p><strong>Why it might help:</strong> It's a potent antioxidant that's important for a healthy immune system and preventing inflammation.</p><p><strong>How it works for other infections: </strong>Thomas cautions that the data on vitamin C are often contradictory. One review from Chinese researchers, published in February in the <em>Journal of Medical Virolog</em>y, looked at <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jmv.25707" target="_blank">what is already known about vitamin C</a> and other supplements that might have a role in COVID-19 treatment. Among other encouraging signs, human studies find a lower incidence of pneumonia among people taking vitamin C, "suggesting that vitamin C might prevent the susceptibility to lower respiratory tract infections under certain conditions."</p><p>But for preventing colds, a 2013 Cochrane review of 29 studies <a href="https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD000980.pub4/full" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">didn't support the idea</a> that vitamin C supplements could help in the general population. However, the authors wrote, given that vitamin C is cheap and safe, "it may be worthwhile for common cold patients to test on an individual basis whether therapeutic vitamin C is beneficial."</p><p><strong>What we know about Vitamin C and COVID-19: </strong>About a dozen studies are under way or planned to examine whether vitamin C added to coronavirus treatment helps with symptoms or survival, including Thomas' study at the Cleveland Clinic.</p><p>In a review published online in July in <em>Nutrition</em>, researchers from KU Leuven in Belgium concluded that the <a href="https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD000980.pub4/full" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">vitamin may help prevent infection</a> and tamp down the dangerous inflammatory reaction that can cause severe symptoms, based on what is known about how the nutrient works in the body.</p><p>Melissa Badowski, a pharmacist who specializes in viral infections at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy and colleague Sarah Michienzi published an extensive look at all supplements that might be useful in the coronavirus epidemic. There's <a href="https://www.drugsincontext.com/can-vitamins-and-or-supplements-provide-hope-against-coronavirus/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">still not enough evidence to know whether they are helpful</a>, the pair concluded in July in <em>Drugs in Context</em>. "It's not really clear if it's going to benefit patients," Badowski says.</p><p>And while supplements are generally safe, she adds that nothing is risk free. The best way to avoid infection, she says, is still to follow the advice of epidemiologists and public health experts: "Wash your hands, wear a mask, stay six feet apart."</p>
- 7 Best Vitamins and Supplements to Combat Stress - EcoWatch ›
- The 10 Best Zinc Supplements of 2020 - EcoWatch ›
By Elliot Douglas
In early October, Britain's Prince William teamed up with conservationist David Attenborough to launch the Earthshot Prize, a new award for environmentalist innovation. The Earthshot brands itself the "most prestigious global environment prize in history."
The world-famous wildlife broadcaster and his royal sidekick appear to have played an active role in the prize's inception, and media coverage has focused largely on them as the faces of the campaign.
“Rather than a Moonshot 🌕, we need Earthshots 🌍 for this decade.” Watch Prince William’s @Tedtalks talk in full:… https://t.co/m5NCj6TQzH— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge)1602408749.0
But the pair are only the frontmen of a much larger movement which has been in development for several years. In addition to a panel of experts who will decide on the winners, the prize's formation took advice from the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace and the Jack Ma Foundation.
With more and more global attention on the climate crisis, celebrity endorsement of environmental causes has become more common. But why do environmental causes recruit famous faces for their campaigns? And what difference can it make?
'Count Me In'
"We need celebrities to reach those people who we cannot reach ourselves," says Sarah Marchildon from the United Nations Climate Change secretariat (UNFCCC) in Bonn, Germany.
Marchildon is a proponent of the use of celebrities to raise awareness of environmental causes. In addition to promoting a selection of climate ambassadors who represent the UN on sustainability issues, Marchildon's team has produced videos with well-known narrators from the entertainment world: among them, Morgan Freeman and Mark Ruffalo.
"We choose celebrities who have a lifestyle where they are already talking about these issues," Marchildon explains.
"Sometimes they reach out to us themselves, as David Attenborough did recently. And then they can promote the videos on their own social channels which reach more people than we do — for example, if they have 20 million followers and we have 750,000."
Environmental groups focused on their own domestic markets are also taking this approach. One Germany-based organization that uses celebrities in campaigns is the German Zero NGO. Set up in 2019, it advocates for a climate-neutral Germany by 2035.
German Zero produced a video in March 2020 introducing the campaign with "66 celebrities" that supported the campaign, among them Deutschland 83 actor Jonas Nay and former professional footballer Andre Schürrle. They solicit support as well as financial contributions from viewers.
"Count me in," they say, pointing toward the camera. "You too?"
"We are incredibly grateful for the VIPs in our videos," says German Zero spokeswoman Eva-Maria McCormack.
Assessing Success Is Complex
But quantifying the effectiveness of celebrity endorsement of campaigns is not a straightforward process.
"In order to measure effectiveness, first of all you need to define what is meant by success," says Alegria Olmedo, a researcher at the Zoology Department at the University of Oxford.
Olmedo is the author of a study looking at a range of campaigns concerning pangolin consumption, fronted by local and Western celebrities, in Vietnam and China. But she says her biggest stumbling block was knowing how to measure a campaign's success.
"You need a clear theory of change," explains Olmedo. "Have the celebrities actually helped in achieving the campaign's goals? And how do you quantify these goals? Maybe it is increased donations or higher engagement with a cause."
A popular campaign in China in recent years saw famous chefs Zhao Danian and Shu Yi pledge to abstain from cooking endangered wildlife. While the pledge achieved widespread recognition, both Olmedo and Marchildon say it's difficult to know whether it made any difference to people's actions.
"In life we see a thousand messages every day, and it is very hard to pinpoint whether one campaign has actually made a difference in people's behavior," she explains.
Awareness Is Not Enough
Many campaigns that feature celebrities focus on raising awareness rather than on concrete action — which, for researcher Olmedo, raises a further problem in identifying effectiveness.
"Reach should never be a success outcome," she says. "Many campaigns say they reached a certain number of people on social media. But there has been a lot of research that shows that simply giving people information does not mean they are actually going to remember it or act upon it."
But anecdotal evidence from campaigns may suggest reach can make an active difference.
"Our VIP video is by far the most watched on our social media channels," McCormack from German Zero says. "People respond to it very directly. A lot of volunteers of all ages heard about us through that video."
However, some marketing studies have shown that celebrity endorsement of a cause or product can distract from the issue itself, as people only remember the person, not the content of what they were saying.
Choosing the Right Celebrity
Celebrity choice is also very important. Campaigns that use famous faces are often aiming to appeal to members of the public who do not necessarily follow green issues.
For certain campaigns with clear target audiences, choosing a climate scientist or well-known environmentalist rather than a celebrity could be more appealing — Attenborough is a classic example. For others, images and videos involving cute animals may be more likely to get a message heard than attaching a famous face.
"We choose celebrities who have a lifestyle where they are already talking about these issues," says Marchildon from the UN. "You need figures with credibility."
McCormack cites the example of Katharine Hayhoe, an environmental scientist who is also an evangelical Christian. In the southern United States, Hayhoe has become a celebrity in her own right, appealing to an audience that might not normally be interested in the messages of climate scientists.
But as soon as you get a celebrity involved, campaigns also put themselves at risk of the whims of that celebrity. Prince William and younger members of the royal family have come under fire in recent years for alleged hypocrisy for their backing of environmental campaigns while simultaneously using private jets to fly around the world.
But Does It Really Work?
While environmental campaigns hope that endorsement from well-known figures can boost a campaign, there is little research to back this up.
"The biggest finding [from my study] was that we were unable to produce any evidence that shows that celebrity endorsement of environmental causes makes any difference," says Olmedo.
This will come as a blow to many campaigns that have invested time and effort into relationships with celebrity ambassadors. But for many, the personal message that many celebrities offer in videos like that produced by German Zero and campaigns like the Earthshot Prize are what counts.
The research may not prove this conclusively — but if the public believes a person they respect deeply personally cares about an important issue, they are perhaps more likely to care too.
"I personally believe in the power this can have," says Marchildon. "And if having a celebrity involved can get a single 16-year-old future leader thinking about environmentalist issues — that is enough."
Reposted with permission from DW.
- Joaquin Phoenix, Martin Sheen Arrested at Jane Fonda's Final DC ... ›
- A-List Celebs, Politicians Join John Kerry's World War Zero ... ›
- Acquaman Actor Jason Momoa Shaves His Beard to Promote ... ›
- Microfibers: The New Plastic Pollution That Threatens Our Waters ... ›
- What You Can Do to Make Your Clothing Ocean Safe - EcoWatch ›
- Hudson River Dumps 300 Million Microfibers Into Atlantic Ocean Daily ›
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a rule change on Friday that will allow some coal power plants to ignore a court order to clean up coal ash ponds, which leech toxic materials into soil and groundwater. The rule change will allow some coal ash ponds to stay open for years while others that have no barrier to protect surrounding areas are allowed to stay open indefinitely, according to the AP.
- 10 Ways Andrew Wheeler Has Decimated EPA Protections in Just ... ›
- What a Real Coal Ash Cleanup Looks Like - EcoWatch ›