Health Canada has recalled several health sanitizers, in addition to those previously pulled from shelves, as they may pose risks to health.
Canadians are advised to stop using the below sanitizers, which contain technical-grade ethanol, are not compliant with federal regulations, and may pose health risks:
Individuals are asked to follow municipal or regional guidelines on how to dispose of chemicals and other hazardous waste. Products can also be returned to a local pharmacy for proper disposal.
Further, individuals should only use hand sanitizers that have been authorized for sale in Canada. Hand sanitizers that have been authorized will display either a Natural Product Number (NPN) or Drug Identification Number (DIN) on the product label. These products can be found on the list of hand sanitizers that meet Health Canada’s requirements or have been allowed to be imported under an interim measure.
Given supply shortages of pharmaceutical- and food-grade ethanol, on April 15, Health Canada permitted the temporary use of technical-grade ethanol — which contains more impurities than pharmaceutical- and food-grade ethanol — in alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
Manufacturers wishing to use technical-grade ethanol must choose from a list of Health Canada-authorized suppliers and receive a No Objection Letter from Health Canada before manufacturing or distributing the product.
Therefore, manufacturers must include the following risk statements on their product labels:
- Under Medicinal Ingredients: “Ethanol XX% (technical-grade)”
- Under Directions: “Adults only”
- Under Warnings: “Do not use on broken or damaged skin,” “Do not use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding” and “Do not inhale”
- Include a statement for consumers: “Report any incident to Health Canada”
- Under Questions: “Call 1-866-234-2345 to report any adverse reaction”
The Department will update this list if it becomes aware of other affected products, so that Canadians can easily identify ones they may have purchased and take appropriate action.
To help limit the spread of COVID-19, Canadians are still encouraged to wash hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers should be used if soap and water are not available.