Health Canada is warning against making or using do-it-yourself hand sanitizer
As the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic wears on, recipes for homemade hand sanitizer and even homemade sanitizers themselves have been appearing online. Now Health Canada has issued an alert warning of potential health risks.
The message is blunt: “If you have made or used homemade hand sanitizer products, stop using them as the concentration of alcohol in many of these recipes may not be high enough to kill the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.” Only sanitizers with an alcohol concentration of at least 60% are recommended.
The alert also cautions that homemade sanitizers can cause skin irritation, increased sensitivity, and allergies.
Even if you can find a trustworthy recipe online—the World Health Organization has endorsed one—Health Canada “doesn’t recommend” making your own because those recipes are meant to be used by licensed manufacturers, who can control both the environment in which the product is made and the precise combination of ingredients.
The alert goes on to state, “Health Canada recommends using only hand sanitizers that have been authorized for sale in Canada. Product labels for authorized hand sanitizers will have either a Natural Product Number (NPN) or Drug Identification Number (DIN).”
To help out in the crisis, a number of makers of wine, beer, and spirits have turned their hands to producing hand sanitizer. Health Canada’s alert specifically states that, “These products will also display a DIN or NPN if they are authorized by Health Canada.”