In late March, Canada-based trade organizations (including Cosmetics Alliance Canada and Cosmetics and Consumer Specialty Products) joined forces to create the Hand Sanitizer Manufacturing Exchange, which is helping manufacturers identify and access the necessary ingredients for making hand sanitizer.
Still in mid-April, Health Canada found it necessary to relax hand sanitizer ingredient regulations and allow manufacturers to use technical-grade ethanol in formulations in order to meet the surge in demand brought on by Coronavirus prevention measures.
Now this month, the department has issued a warning and recalled product to protect consumers: “Health Canada is advising Canadians that certain hand sanitizers are being recalled from the market because they contain industrial-grade ethanol that has not been authorized for use in hand sanitizers in Canada,” explains the Health Canada press release outlining the recall.
Personal care manufacturers are using industrial-grade ethanol
The 12 businesses affected by the Health Canada recall are all making hand sanitizer with industrial-grade ethanol, which is not an allowable ingredient in that country.
According to the Health Canada release, “industrial-grade ethanol contains impurities that are not found in the type of ethanol approved for use in manufacturing hand sanitizers, such as technical-grade, food-grade or pharmaceutical-grade ethanol.”
Also, “chemicals that may not be approved for use in hand sanitizers are added to industrial-grade ethanol,” explains the department’s press release.
Risks and recalls associated with hand sanitizers
“Since industrial-grade ethanol has not been approved for use in hand sanitizers in Canada, the Department has not reviewed it for safety or efficacy,” notes the release.
However, there are likely risks associated with using hand sanitizer products made with industrial-grade ethanol: “Frequent use of these products may result in dry skin, causing irritation or cracking.”
To date, Health Canada has notified 12 hand sanitizer makers to stop selling product formulated with industrial-grade ethanol. Those companies and the recalled products are:
- Eltraderm Limited - Eltraderm Hand Sanitizer - 70% Ethyl Alcohol
- Contract Packaging Distributions Inc. - Hand Sanitizer
- Nature's Own Cosmetic Company Inc. - Gel 700 Hand Sanitizer
- Sanilabs Inc. - Sanilabs Hand Sanitizer 70% Ethanol
- Walker Emulsions Ltd. - Walker Emulsions Hand Sanitizer and Hand Sanitizer Désinfectant pour les mains
- Applied Lubrication Technology - Protectenol Hand Sanitizer Liquid
- Tidol Corporation - Tidol Hand Sanitizer 70%
- Laboratoire Hygienex Inc. - Aktif Antiseptique instantané pour les mains
- R&D Technical Solutions Ltd. - Smart Care
- Wood Wyant Inc. - X-Pure Vert-2-Go Gel
- DashVapes Inc. - Dash Vapes Hand Sanitizer
- Lalema Inc. - Isogel
As a leading voice in the personal care and cosmetics industry as well as in the indie beauty movement, Deanna Utroske keeps an eye on regulatory issues that impact ingredient suppliers, product manufacturers, and beauty brands. As Editor of CosmeticsDesign.com, she writes daily news about the business of beauty in the Americas region and regularly produces video interviews with cosmetics, fragrance, personal care, and packaging experts as well as with indie brand founders.