Breaking News: FDA marks Carlmont hand sanitizer as dangerous

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Allison Raisner

The FDA published artnaturals hand sanitizer on a list of products to stop using.

Effective beginning this week, the hand sanitizer Carlmont supplied for students will no longer be used, per FDA recommendations.

“The FDA recently published an update that listed this specific brand [artnaturals] as one whose use should be discontinued,” said Tony Crapo, the director of Purchasing and Support Services for Sequoia Union High School District.

The hand sanitizer proved to contain dangerous chemicals for humans and animals.

The FDA published a statement: “FDA has tested certain artnaturals scent-free hand sanitizer… and found unacceptable levels of benzene, acetaldehyde, and acetal contaminants.”

Benzene and acetaldehyde have been shown to cause cancer, and acetal causes irritation in the eyes, respiratory tract, and skin. This proves to be concerning for the students at Carlmont, who expressed their fear.

“I feel paranoid and concerned for the students’ and staffs’ health. I’m glad they took it out of the classrooms and replaced it, though,” said Kacy Wang, a freshman.

Another Carlmont student was criticizing the school for having the hand sanitizer in schools in the first place.

“I think that while it wasn’t completely the school’s fault, it should not have been an issue because we should have been using FDA-approved hand sanitizer. If the hand sanitizer is going to be put in every classroom, it’s crucial that it is a safe substance to be using,” said Mark Castro, a senior.

The FDA is urging consumers not to use this contaminated product. The agency has added artnaturals hand sanitizer products to the list of hand sanitizers consumers should not use.

When removing the hand sanitizer, the FDA recommends disposing of it in a biohazardous waste container rather than dumping it out. 

According to the FDA, the chemicals in the hand sanitizer are quite dangerous on their own, but their side effects in hand sanitizer have not yet been tested. They also recommended continuing to use hand sanitizer, or using soap and water to wash hands, with different brands.

“FDA reminds consumers to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose. If soap and water are not readily available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend consumers use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol (also referred to as ethyl alcohol),” the FDA said.

As hand sanitizer is a safety measure for all classrooms, Carlmont and the district are working to safely replace the bottles.

“There are multiple brands of hand sanitizer in use throughout the district in many different sizes of containers. Some school sites may have already replaced the bottles in their classrooms. Additional bottles of hand sanitizers are being shipped out from our central warehouse to all school sites in the coming days,” Crapo said.