FDA wants to know how safe is hand sanitizer, asks product makers for more data

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you can't get to soap and water, then pull out a bottle of hand sanitizer?

Well, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is getting dirty with manufacturers regarding active ingredients in antiseptic rubs.

Many of them contain ethanol or ethyl alcohol, and scientists want to know how safe the chemicals are when absorbed in the bloodstream.

"That's what's prompting a lot of the studies is, is this going to cause some problems in the future for people that are pregnant and for the fetuses.", says internal medicine physician, Steffanie Campbell, of Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.

Just to be clear, the FDA is not saying hand sanitizers are ineffective or unsafe.  In fact, the Centers for Disease Control recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol, when plain soap and running water are unavailable.

However, the FDA does want more data from from manufacturers, who have a year to submit it.

"Keep in mind that it doesn't get rid of some viruses and some other bacterias that can cause illness that create spores, and those can be passed easily, such as C Diff," Dr. Campbell added.

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