If you own a bottle of Artnaturals scent-free hand sanitizer, federal health officials want you to stop using it immediately and toss it in a hazardous waste container, not in the trash or down the drain or toilet.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration tests have found “unacceptable levels” of some cancer-causing chemicals, including benzene, acetaldehyde and acetal contaminants in some bottles, according to a warning issued Oct. 4.
The Artnaturals product has been added to a list of 260 other hand sanitizer brands contaminated with harmful chemicals that the FDA urges people not use. The sanitizers can be bought in several stores, including Walmart, Publix and Amazon.
The California-based company has not responded to “multiple FDA attempts to discuss the contaminated hand sanitizers, including identification of the manufacturer, possible recalls, and the scope of the contamination.”
The FDA says the risk of using these hand sanitizers is unknown, but research shows the chemicals they contain are known to cause cancer.
Benzene is among 20 of the most used chemicals in the U.S., commonly found in plastics, lubricants, rubbers, detergents and pesticides. Studies in both animals and people show benzene can cause cancer, particularly those in the blood.
Acetaldehyde can be found in perfumes, dyes, rubber and alcohol, among other products. Short-term exposure can irritate your eyes, skin and respiratory tract, but it can cause serious illness or death in the long-term. Studies conducted on animals suggest acetaldehyde can cause cancer in people.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol.
The FDA encourages people to report adverse reactions to hand sanitizers to its MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.
In April, the FDA recalled eight lots of hand sanitizers made by Scentsational Soaps & Candles that were sold at certain Marshalls, TJ Maxx and Ulta Beauty stores, the Miami Herald reported. The products contained methanol, benzene and acetaldehyde.
The FDA has said methanol is “toxic” when rubbed on your skin, but it’s more damaging when ingested.