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Health Canada announces recalls for two hand sanitizers

Health Canada is issuing a recall of two different hand sanitizers, one of which was made for essential workers during the pandemic.

The Newfoundland Distillery Company’s Fighting Spirit line of hand sanitizers, created by the distillery in the early weeks of the pandemic to help combat sanitizer shortages, and Newfoundland Labrador Liquid’s Alcohol Antiseptic 80% (v/v) Topical Solution Hand Sanitizer, have both been recalled because affected lots may contain an acetaldehyde concentration that is outside the acceptable limit.

If you have purchased one of the affected lots of either of the sanitizers, Health Canada recommends not using the product and to return it to your local pharmacy for safe disposal, or to follow regional guidelines on how to dispose of hazardous waste.

Those with health concerns related to the use of the recalled products should contact a health-care professional. Health Canada is asking any consumers who used the products and experienced adverse effects to file a report on its website.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, short-term exposure to acetaldehyde results in effects including irritation of the eyes, skin and respiratory tract. While some hand sanitizers contain acetaldehyde within limits deemed safe for use by Health Canada, the recalled products contain more than the acceptable limit. Acetaldehyde is part of the chemical breakdown of alcohol, and also occurs naturally in coffee, bread and fruit.

Health Canada provides a full list of sanitizers approved for sale on its website, which is updated at the beginning of each month.

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