Safer, Healthier Hand Sanitizers – Call for Public Comment

Safer, Healthier Hand Sanitizers – Call for Public Comment

7/30/2020 | Brie Welzer

Green Seal accepted comments on our proposed health-focused requirements for alcohol-based hand sanitizers during a public comment period from July 30 to August 13. All comments are now under review, and Green Seal anticipates publishing final criteria in early September.

Our Focus on Health

Since entering the US marketplace in the 1980s, hand sanitizers have provided an effective and efficient option for hand hygiene. US and international health organizations have called the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers the second-best hand hygiene option, after hand washing with soap and water. Hand sanitizers are now critical to public health worldwide as governments and healthcare groups work to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

However, hand sanitizers available on the US market are sometimes formulated with hazardous ingredients linked to cancer, allergies, skin and eye irritation, and other harmful health effects. 

In addition, with sudden demand spurring many first-time producers to enter the market, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers to beware of incorrectly formulated hand sanitizers. As of now, the FDA has listed 75 hand sanitizer products to avoid because they contain high levels of hazardous ingredients, like methanol. 

Given the strong demand for these products and their critical role in providing safer, healthier spaces from schools to grocery stores, Green Seal has developed a health-protective framework for alcohol-based hand sanitizer certification.

Our Requirements 

Green Seal’s proposed criteria for hand sanitizers set protective health requirements to provide purchasers and consumers a simple way choose safer and effective products. 

Because people apply hand sanitizer directly to their skin up to 30 times a day, it is vital that products are formulated with healthier ingredients. Under the proposed requirements, certified hand sanitizers must be free of carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxins and endocrine disruptors, with additional ingredient restrictions to prevent skin irritation, eye damage and allergies.

As always, consumers can be confident that Green Seal-certified products:

  • meet uncompromising performance standards
  • conform to rigorous health requirements
  • do not pollute waterways, and
  • use environmentally preferable packaging materials

Final Criteria Coming Soon

Green Seal’s reputation for credibility and market impact rests on an open and transparent process for developing our science-based standards. All of our major standard revisions are open for review and public feedback. Green Seal publishes all formally submitted comments, as well as a response to each substantive issue identified by commenters.

Green Seal accepted public comments on the proposed criteria between July 30 and August 13. All comments are now under review, and Green Seal will publish a Response to Comments before issuing the Final Criteria for alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

The Proposed Criteria and supplementary documents can be reviewed on Green Seal's Standard Revisions page.