Last week the government issued a press release sure to distress anyone who was about to sanitize their hands: “FDA warns that getting alcohol-based hand sanitizer in the eyes can cause serious injury.”
This is very scary. Everybody I know has hand sanitizer, especially since the pandemic. Are people blinded by hand sanitizer?
Well, not quite. Perhaps because there were no other health emergency to attend to, the government chose to examine the potential eye damage hand sanitizer may be causing. The government reviewed poison control calls and academic literature regarding sanitizer eye injury from January 1, 2018 to April 30, 2021. This means that it examined two-and-a-half years of ocular incidents from the beginning of COVID-19 to its end. In a country with 330,000,000 inhabitants, how terrible was this truth?
Exactly, “3,642 side effects” resulting from exposure to hand sanitizers in the eyes. What percentage of these people went blind? Zero.
What percentage of these people required surgery to their eyes?
What’s the point? WereWhat are the terrible side effects of the FDA’s drug? Side effects include eye irritation, redness of the eyes and ulcers.
However, that isn’t the end of the story. The agency insists. There were more than 3,000 cases of irritation. 58 cases were classified as “more serious.” The most radical treatment was used to treat these cases, called “rinsing of the eyes.” 26 of these people also received antibiotics. Although 51 of the 58 patients were eventually released and treated, it doesn’t seem like you should be worried that seven other people showed up to guide dog orientation. The cases of the 58 dogs were either ignored or minor.
FDA also stated that it found 18 instances of children being exposed to eye drops while reviewing two publications. These cases required treatment at a hospital, or by a professional in health care (which could have included a school nurse). One-third of the cases had severe eye problems, while two others required surgical intervention. A second study included two children who had to have their eyes cleaned and prescribed medicine.
This must have been distressing for these families. But why are we being warned by the government about an incident that only affected a very small percentage of people, when so many people using this drug every day without any eye damage?
David Ropeik (author of “Our Policies Follow Our Fears, Not The Facts” says, Are You Ready to Take the High Risk of It?It is. Our culture is one that fears chemicals for its children on every front. Ropeik said, “Raising an alarm in support of public safety feels almost like a service to the public.” It’s even worse than it sounds.
Josh Bloom (chemist and Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science, American Council on Science and Health), points out that “there are very few chemicals that can be used to treat cancer.” It won’t do damage if you get them in your eye.”
The FDA also warns about the dangers of breathing in hand sanitizer vapors, having discovered 50 adverse incidents over the course of 11 years. It’s nearly five incidents per year. That is one in every 66,000,000 people. You are only 1 in 22,000,000 likely to die in a cross-country incident.
John Tierney, ex-councillor for the former says “These are exactly the people who couldn’t approve an annual at-home COVID-19 exam.” New York TimesScientist writer and science author Power of the Bad.
You can blame it all on Purell’s fumes.