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FDA Gives Hand Sanitizer Clean Bill of Health

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given alcohol-based hand sanitizer a fundamental vote of confidence in an April ruling deeming three crucial and debated ingredients safe for use.

The FDA’s ruling allows three active ingredients – benzalkonium chloride, ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol – to remain in hand sanitizer formulas. While deferring them from further regulation, the agency will continue to study the safety and effectiveness of the three core ingredients.

“We believe the industry has made good progress in providing data and we continue to provide updates to the public about the process of collecting this data,” Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation, said in a statement.

Millions of Americans daily turn to hand sanitizer as a proven and safe method to reduce bacteria on their hands when soap and water are not available. The FDA did remove 28 chemicals from hand sanitizer formulas that are found in less than three percent of the USA’s $2.4 billion marketplace.

“Consumers can continue to use hand sanitizer products with confidence as this regulatory process moves forward,” said Richard Sedlak, executive vice president of technical and international affairs at the American Cleansing Institute, which represents the country’s cleaning product industry

Woodcock assures parents their children are in good hands using hand sanitizer to clean their hands. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also endorsed 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizers as a suitable alternative when washing one’s hands is not possible.

“Our action today aims to help provide consumers with confidence that the over-the-counter hand sanitizers they’re using are safe and effective when they don’t have access to water to wash with soap,” Woodcock said.

One of the country’s best weapons against the spread of harmful germs and bacteria remains a safe and ready defense and, as’s Sally Min puts it, “a knight in shining armor when you want to reduce the spread of germs and flu infection.”