The US Food and Drug Administration is calling on the makers of hand sanitizers to add denatured alcohol to their products to make them bitter-tasting and less appealing to people, especially kids.
“It is important that hand sanitizer be manufactured in a way that makes them unpalatable to people, especially young children, and that they are appropriately labeled to discourage accidental or intentional ingestion,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in a statement.
“Hand sanitizers are not proven to treat COVID-19, and like other products meant for external use, are not for ingestion, inhalation, or intravenous use,” he added.
The safety call comes after a coronavirus press briefing last week in which President Donald Trump questioned whether people infected with the illness could be “injected” with disinfectants, sparking a wave of criticism and negative press.
He later claimed he “was asking a question sarcastically to reporters.”
Last week, the FDA issued its “first warning letter for a hand sanitizer product marketed with unproven COVID-19-related claims, in violation of federal law.”
The letter was sent to Prefense LLC for selling their product with misleading claims, the agency said.
“For example, ‘Prefense…protects you from germs with just one application per day! It’s like wearing an invisible glove,” the FDA said, adding that the company’s website claims that Prefense can “protect you from pathogens up to 24 hours or for 10 hand washes.”
The agency said: “The FDA is not aware of any evidence that hand sanitizer products can protect consumers for 24 hours or after multiple hand-washings.”