Concern over hand sanitizers

Not all hand sanitizers are safe to use.

More than 50 brands of hand sanitizers have been recalled by Health Canada.

Experts say good sanitizers are made with quality-grade ethanol. They are safe to use. If methanol or ethyl acetate are used it can be dangerous.

“Methanol and ethanol will look similar and behave similarly. The difference is one is quite dangerous,” said Colin Furness, an epidemiologist with the University of Toronto.

Health risks

Ethyl acetate is used to make glue or nail polish removers. Methanol is used to make fuel or antifreeze.

Both ethyl acetate and methanol can cause skin irritations. Methanol can cause headaches, eye and upper-respiratory irritation.

Unsafe sanitizers

Health Canada lists the products they say are unsafe to use. Go to

Adapted from CBC News • Photo: Unsplash/Kelly Sikkema