The FDA warns Purell about false claims that it can eliminate Ebola, MRSA and the flu

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The warning points to the ways in which Gojo Industries, the parent company of Purell, marketed its popular line of alcohol-based gels, foams and aerosols in social media materials, blog posts and frequently asked questions about the product and the website corporate. Some of the statements that caused the FDA’s anger described in the warning appear to have been removed from the Gojo and Purell sites since the FDA sent its letter on January 17.

The FDA made a claim on the Purell website that products were shown to “reduce student absenteeism by up to 51%,” and another that promoted Purell as a solution for germ-infested sports environments, where it could help reduce MRSA and the VRE at 100 percent.

Elsewhere, the FDA noted several cases in which the Akron, Ohio-based company dealt with language that recognized that it had no knowledge of any tests performed on hand sanitizer and Ebola, but then described how alcohol kills Easily to such viruses: Purell’s key ingredient – and how groups such as the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control recommend the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers during an outbreak.

Those claims, the FDA wrote, indicate that Gojo is intended for customers to use their products to eliminate Ebola, the flu and other diseases, although there are no studies proving that such antiseptics can produce the results that Gojo implied.

Gojo told The Washington Post that he took immediate action after receiving the letter from the FDA.

“The letter was related to part of our marketing on PURELL® Hand Sanitizer on GOJO.com and through our social media platforms,” ​​said Samantha Williams, a spokeswoman for Gojo in a statement Tuesday. “It is important to emphasize that the FDA letter was not related to the safety or quality of our products or our manufacturing processes. “

On a plane full of sniffing or in a sweaty gym, a bottle of hand sanitizer may seem like a blessing. Sales increase reliably during flu seasons, and consumer confidence in the hand sanitizer seems to be growing: the hand sanitizer was estimated at a market of $ 2.4 billion worldwide in 2017, and He expects that figure to double in 2024, according to MarketWatch.

Experts warn that, although hand sanitizers are very effective in killing certain germs on contact, consumers should understand that products do not work miracles.

“These alcohol-based hand sanitizers can provide a level of protection, but just carrying it all day in your bag and using it won’t prevent you from coming into contact with people who could be infectious,” said David Dowdy, an associate professor of diseases. Infectious diseases and epidemiology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. Dowdy told The Washington Post that people should consider how they come into contact with infected people, since the hand sanitizer does not provide lasting protection.

“If I was touching a shopping cart that someone who was coughing or sneezing and had the flu had used and used hand sanitizer before touching his nose or mouth, he probably killed the viruses in his hand,” he said. “But, alcohol evaporates very quickly, so if five minutes later you touched a light switch in a bathroom that someone before you with the flu had touched, you would not be protected.”

Dowdy noted that when it comes to suggestions that hand sanitizer can be effective against Ebola, hands are not the only part of the body that people should worry about, since the virus can be transmitted through any type of discharge from the eyes, nose, mouth or other hole While the hand sanitizer is typically effective against viruses such as colds and flu, Dowdy echoed the FDA’s warning that it is impossible to say specifically how effective it is the hand sanitizer against threats such as Ebola or coronavirus until it has been studied.

“If you’re Purell, you don’t want to make claims about something that hasn’t been proven,” Dowdy said.

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