Coronavirus: FDA asks hand sanitiser manufactures to make product less appealing to drink

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Calls to the National Poison Data System went up by 79 per cent in March

World | The Independent

The Food and Drug Administration has asked hand sanitiser manufacturers to make the product less appealing to drink, especially for children.

"It is important that hand sanitiser be manufactured in a way that makes them unpalatable to people, especially young children, and that they are appropriately labelled to discourage accidental or intentional ingestion," FDA Commissioner Dr Stephen Hahn said in a statement.

"Hand sanitisers 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.

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This statement was released after President Donald Trump made the news for questioning whether injecting Covid-19 patients with disinfectant could work as a "cleaning" of the body from the virus.

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Mr Trump later claimed he was being "sarcastic" about the suggestion.

"I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters, like you, just to see what would happen," he said.

"When I was asking a sarcastic — a very sarcastic question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside, but it does kill it, and it would kill it on the hands and that would make things much better. That was done in the form of a sarcastic question to a reporter," he continued.

But it sparked companies like Lysol to release public statements imploring its customers to not ingest their cleaning products as a way to kill the novel virus. Calls of people enquiring about ingesting disinfectant and bleach increased in some areas including Maryland and New York.

Hand sanitiser manufacturers were encouraged to add denatured alcohol into their products to make it taste bitter, which would ideally discourage anyone from drinking the liquid.

Demand for hand sanitiser rose in recent months amid the coronavirus pandemic, with Americans relying on the product as one method to kill the novel virus.

But unintentional exposure to the liquid has also increased. The FDA said calls to the National Poison Data System in March relating to hand sanitiser went up by 79 per cent compared to 2019. A majority of these calls were of unintentional exposure to children five years old or younger.

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