If you’ve gone out shopping recently, you might be relieved to find that many items like toilet paper and hand sanitizer are back in stock with ample supply. Much of the panic buying that signified the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has waned, and now, manufacturers have ramped up production to get these critical goods into everyone’s hands.
If there are still a high number of cases in your area, however, visiting the store might not be the best idea especially if you’re in an at-risk group for COVID-19 complications. Instead, your best option to restock is to check online retailers to see what their supplies look like. Tap or click here for an online tool that can show you.
If you’re in the market to buy hand sanitizers, you might want to think carefully before picking up some off-brand products. A number of negligent manufacturers are packing their sanitizers in containers that look like beer cans, vodka bottles and children’s snack pouches. Some of them are even showing up with flavors like chocolate. What’s going on here?
Clean hands, dirty market
According to a bulletin posted by the FDA, a number of hand sanitizer manufactures have been packaging their alcohol-based cleaners in unorthodox containers like glass and plastic bottles, spray bottles, plastic pouches and even aluminum cans. While this is not strictly speaking illegal, it has the potential to put kids and others in serious danger.
It should go without saying that you shouldn’t drink hand sanitizer, but there are many out there who may not be aware that some alcohol-based products aren’t meant to be consumed. This can be difficult to understand if the packaging looks like something edible, and the fact that some have child-friendly characters on them makes the issue all the more fraught.
You may know better, but young kids may not. That’s why unconventional packaging like this is so risky to keep around kids.
But that’s not the only danger facing our children if these products are left within reach. Some of the sanitizers even advertise flavors on the packaging like chocolate and strawberry — which makes the issue even more confusing!
There are absolutely zero reasons for any kind of sanitizer to have a flavoring. Scents are one thing, but when you start advertising your potentially toxic product with child-friendly cartoon characters and chocolate flavoring, it’s not unreasonable to suspect your intentions.
These aren’t even the most dangerous kinds of sanitizer floating around on the market right now, either. Just a few weeks ago, several brands of sanitizer were found to contain the toxic chemical methanol — which can cause permanent blindness, nerve damage, coma and even death! Tap or click here to see the list of recalled sanitizers.
How can I spot these dangerous sanitizers and protect my family?
While shopping for supplies, keep your eyes open for products where the packaging doesn’t seem to match what’s inside. Most mainstream sanitizers will come in the form of pump bottles, squeeze bottles and occasionally spray bottles. You may see some variations in the design, scent and materials used, but all of these are relatively safe if no methanol is present.
However, if you see sanitizer in what looks like an applesauce pouch or aluminum can, you’re dealing with something sketchy. Mainstream manufacturers have an incentive to make sure their products look as trustworthy as possible, so the items that stick out like sore thumbs are probably not the best to rely on.
In addition, no matter what sanitizer you pick up, look carefully at the ingredients (if they’re visible) to make sure nothing dangerous is inside. And for the sake of everyone, please, do not buy flavored sanitizer. It serves no purpose other than misguided marketing at best and harming consumers at worst.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, advice, or health objectives.