Tainted Hand Lotions and Sanitizers Recalled

Clarcon brand skin products contain dangerous levels of bacteria and should not be used, the FDA warns.

June 9, 2009

Clarcon hand sanitizers are tainted by bacteria. But soap and water work just fine.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—In a bit of an ironic twist, a company that manufactures hand sanitizers has recalled several products due to bacterial contamination. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says no one should use any products made by the company Clarcon. The results of their inspection are particularly troubling because the products are marketed as antimicrobial agents that claim to treat open wounds and damaged skin, and to protect against certain infectious diseases.


THE DETAILS: Utah-based Clarcon Biological Chemistry Laboratory Inc. is voluntarily recalling skin sanitizers and skin protectors marketed under several different brand and product names (see below) after an FDA inspection found high levels of disease-causing bacteria in the products. The FDA says this type of contamination is often associated with unsanitary conditions, and urges consumers to stop using all Clarcon products and to throw them away.

The recalled products include:
Citrushield Lotion
Dermasentials DermaBarrier
Dermassentials by Clarcon Antimicrobial Hand Sanitizer
Iron Fist Barrier Hand Treatment
Skin Shield Restaurant
Skin Shield Industrial
Skin Shield Beauty Salon Lotion
Total Skin Care Beauty
Total Skin Care Work

Some of the bacteria detected in the products can cause infections of the skin and underlying tissues that could require medicine or surgery to treat. The FDA says the bacterial infections associated with the products could cause permanent damage.

Doctors, nurses, and consumers should report side effects stemming from product use to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program by calling 800-FDA-1088, or faxing 800-FDA-0178. You can also file a report online or mail in a completed form.

WHAT IT MEANS: Several studies have found that washing your hands in warm water with regular soap is just as effective as using antimicrobial soaps and sanitizers; plus, it’s a lot cheaper. Some antimicrobial products contain triclosan, a chemical that is toxic to aquatic life and even mutates male frogs into having female characteristics because of its estrogenlike properties. Researchers also believe triclosan can interfere with human thyroid function. So skip the chemicals and use good old-fashioned castile-based soap and warm water to knock out germs.

Tags: recall alert