FDA reiterates call not to use hand sanitizer it found to have cancer-causing chemical

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(NBCNC) — An independent lab has found a cancer-causing solvent in a popular brand of hand sanitizer.

Back in March, lab workers at Valisure tested samples of ArtNaturals hand sanitizers.

They found that the samples were contaminated with benzene, a solvent made from petroleum that’s directly linked with causing leukemia in humans.

The team’s research into hand sanitizers was just the start of a disturbing trend. Over the past year, Valisure has found benzene in other everyday consumer products like sunscreen, antifungal sprays and most recently, antiperspirant.

On Oct. 4, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a notice saying it had also found "unacceptable levels of benzene" in ArtNaturals hand sanitizers, adding that the company had been ignoring the agency’s attempts to discuss the contamination.

On Oct. 26, ArtNaturals announced that it would voluntarily recall some of its 8-ounce scent-free hand sanitizers.

The company continues to insist that its sanitizers are not contaminated with benzene, but the FDA is encouraging consumers to dispose of the products in a hazardous waste container.

The situation highlights regulators’ lack of authority when it comes to over-the-counter drug products.

While the FDA cannot force a recall, it can pressure companies to do so voluntarily through public warnings.