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Safety alert: Canada-wide recall issued for hand sanitizers due to 'health risks'

Frequent use of a hand sanitizer containing ethyl acetate may cause dry skin, leading to irritation or cracking.
hand-sanitizer
Health Canada states that hand sanitizers are being recalled as they contain ethyl acetate which may cause dry skin, leading to irritation or cracking. Photo: Hand sanitizer / Getty Images

Health Canada is advising Canadians that a couple of hand sanitizers are being recalled because they may pose health risks.

Adbo Distribution's KeraSpa hand sanitizer and Affinite Gestion de Production's Umbrell (60 ml format) are being recalled because they contain an "unacceptable ingredient, ethyl acetate. 

Health Canada states that frequent use of a hand sanitizer containing ethyl acetate may cause dry skin, leading to irritation or cracking.

Soaring demand for hand sanitizers due to COVID-19

Health Canada states that the demand for hand sanitizers increased drastically due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that it has temporarily allowed manufacturers to use technical-grade ethanol in alcohol-based hand sanitizers to keep up with demand.

Technical-grade ethanol sanitizers have more impurities than pharmaceutical- and food-grade ethanol, and manufacturers must choose from a list of Health Canada-authorized suppliers. Additionally, they must receive a No Objection Letter from the department before they can manufacture or distribute the product.

Manufacturers must also include specific risk statements on their product labels if the ethanol impurities exceed a certain level.

Product

Reason for
recall

Company

NPN or DIN

Lot Number(s)

Expiry Date

KeraSpa

Contains
unacceptable
ingredient, ethyl
acetate

Adbo
Distribution

80076597
appears on
the label,
which is the
wrong NPN

100G01

101G01

104G01

111G01

112G01

April 2023

Umbrell (60 mL
format)

Contains
unacceptable
ingredient, ethyl
acetate

Affinite Gestion de
Production

80076597

099G01

100G01

April 2023

Unauthorized denaturants and medicinal ingredients

Counterfeit products may contain ingredients not listed on the label, dangerous additives or other contaminants. In addition, they may not contain the active ingredients Canadians would expect them to contain. Since counterfeit products are unauthorized and made with an unknown formulation, they may not be effective at killing bacteria and viruses, and may pose serious risks to health.

What you should do

  • Stop using the products identified in the table.
    • Follow municipal or regional guidelines on how to dispose of chemicals and other hazardous waste; or
    • Return the product to your local pharmacy for proper disposal
  • Contact the company if you would like more information about the recall
  • Consult your health care professional if you have used these products and have health concerns

To help limit the spread of COVID-19, wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers that have been authorized for sale in Canada. Consult these resources for more information:

Report any health product adverse events or complaints to Health Canada.