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Hand sanitizers

FDA finally goes after fraudulent marketing of hand sanitizers with false claims about superbugs

Thursday, May 05, 2011 by: David Hutto
Tags: hand sanitizers, false claims, health news

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(NaturalNews) Most people know that bacteria are picked up and transmitted by the hands, and so it seems logical that to protect ourselves, we can use antibacterial hand sanitizers. Logical -- perhaps -- but wrong. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is now going after makers of hand sanitizers for making claims that their products will protect against MRSA and other diseases. Of the sanitizers, the FDA says, "Some hand sanitizers and antiseptic products come with claims that they can prevent MRSA infections. Don't believe them." Such claims have not been proven, according to the FDA, and the manufacturers have been warned to cease making such statements.

The bacterium MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) can cause serious illness, mostly in medical facilities, but it also appears in community settings. MRSA is especially deserving of caution because it is very hard to treat with available antibiotics, but the best way to avoid it is by careful hand washing.

Washing the hands regularly with soap and warm water for 20 seconds is the most effective way to avoid illness. The FDA even cautions consumers not to buy over-the-counter hand sanitizers that claim to protect against MRSA, E. coli, Salmonella, and other bacteria and viruses. "Consumers are being misled if they think these products you can buy in a drug store or from other places will protect them from a potentially deadly infection," says Deborah Autor, of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

"FDA has not approved any products claiming to prevent infection from MRSA, E. coli, Salmonella, or H1N1 flu, which a consumer can just walk into a store and buy" says Autor. "These products give consumers a false sense of protection."

A study reported on by Natural News last year found no significant effect from hand sanitizers (http://www.naturalnews.com/029786_hand_sanit...), yet a survey done not long after found that many people still believed sanitizers work (http://www.naturalnews.com/030193_hand_sanit...). To combat the widespread belief in a useless product, the FDA is now taking action.

The FDA also cautions consumers to watch for fraudulent claims on products that claim to kill over 99.9% of MRSA. According to the Centers for Disease Control, if soap and warm water are not available for washing the hands, a second-best method is to use a sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Even with such a sanitizer, however, not all germs are eliminated.

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