Restrictions have been tightened on the use of ethanol in hand sanitiser in the US, intended to protect consumers from possibly dangerous impurities in such products – but the knock-on effect will likely be that shortages will be seen at a time when sanitiser is very much a necessity thanks to the pandemic.
On April 15th, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued limits on certain chemicals allowed in alcohol-based hand sanitiser, Reuters reports.
Since then, the organisation has contacted numerous companies to let them know their products don’t meet safety standards, which has meant they’ve had to stop production and cancel supply agreements.
The FDA told the news source that it had taken the decision to update guidance after carrying out a review of ingredient data from ethanol companies and dealing with questions from firms looking for clarification regarding its temporary production policies.
The move has drawn criticism from some quarters, however, with suppliers saying the group should be easing its safety standards more in order to ensure that hand sanitiser is widely available at this particular moment in time.
In one instance, the FDA stated that it had identified significant levels of carcinogen acetaldehyde in ethanol from a company for use in hand sanitiser.
And in the UK, meanwhile, Manchester-based gin company Didsbury Gin says it has seen a 20 per cent rise in price week on week in ethanol over the last three weeks.
According to the Manchester Evening News, the distillery posted an open letter on Twitter at the start of April saying that suppliers are now making it harder and harder for them to produce hand sanitiser products.
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