Coronavirus Questions Answered: What Does Non-Sterile Hand Sanitizer Mean?
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ideastream is answering as many questions as possible, with help from local experts in a range of fields. You can send us your questions with our online form, through our social media pages and group or call us at 216-916-6476. We'll keep the answers coming on our website and on the air.
Jen from Chagrin Falls asks: “What’s the difference between sterile and non-sterile hand sanitizer?”
Jen might be noticing that some hand sanitizers are labeled “non-sterile solutions.”
The Food and Drug Administration website says a product labeled as nonsterile doesn’t necessarily mean the product is contaminated, it just means the contents haven’t been sterilized or treated with a process during manufacturing to eliminate all potential microorganisms.
The FDA also recently released guidelines for new companies that have started making hand sanitizers during the coronavirus pandemic. The policy provides guidance on what ingredients may be used in the production of hand sanitizer, and it requires labels say “non-sterile solution.”
And, both the FDA and CDC frequently remind consumers that hand sanitizer is only recommended when soap and water to wash hands isn’t available.