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Safety alert: Canada-wide recall issued for hand sanitizer due to 'serious health risks'

Health Canada has also suspended the product licence.
Health Canada issued a recall on Sept. 23, 2021, for a brand of hand sanitizer because it may pose "serious health risks." The licence has been suspended. Photo: Hand sanitizer / Getty Images

Health Canada is advising Canadians that a brand of hand sanitizer is being recalled because it may pose "serious health risks."

The department is requesting a recall of PURE75 gel hand sanitizer (NPN 80098346) after it tested the product and found that it contains "an undeclared impurity, methanol, at elevated levels," according to a release.

Health Canada has also suspended the product licence for PURE75 gel hand sanitizer (NPN 80098346). This means that it is illegal for any person or company to sell this product in the country. It has also requested that the importer, Haywick Industries, stop selling and recall this product. So far, the company has not complied. 

Methanol can cause serious health issues and is not authorized for use in hand sanitizers.

Frequent exposure to hand sanitizers containing elevated levels of methanol may cause skin irritation, eye irritation, breathing problems, and headaches. If swallowed, methanol can cause severe adverse reactions, including death.

The product label for PURE75 is also missing important safety information and directions for use, including the following warnings:

  • Children less than two years of age should not use this product
  • Supervise children when they use this product
  • Call a poison control centre and get medical help if the product is swallowed
  • Keep away from open flames and sources of heat; and
  • Use the product occasionally

If additional products or safety concerns are identified, Health Canada will take appropriate action and inform Canadians as necessary.

What you should do

  • Stop using this product.
    • Follow municipal or regional guidelines on how to dispose of chemicals and other hazardous waste; or
    • Return the product to your local pharmacy for proper disposal
  • Consult a health care professional if you have used this product and have health concerns.
  • Keep all hand sanitizers out of the reach of children.
  • Never eat or drink hand sanitizers, as swallowing even small amounts can be dangerous or fatal. If swallowed, call a poison control centre or seek medical help immediately.
  • Report any health product side effects or complaints to Health Canada.

Health Canada also maintains a list of recalled hand sanitizers and encourages Canadians to check it for updates.