Three months after Health Canada announced that to help fight the spread of COVID-19 it would allow into Canada with minimal review sanitizing products approved for sale by other jurisdictions, it has declared one of those products unfit for Canadian consumers.
Walker Emulsions Hand Sanitizer was one of six products recalled according to a June 6 release. The recall of the products is unrelated to their efficacy in cleaning, but rather because their use could result in dry skin. As Health Canada’s release notes, it “has not reviewed it for safety or efficacy.”
Yet the Walker product also remains on the government list of hand sanitizers offered for sale in Canada as of June 9. The identical name and product identifier of 80098678 is shown both in the news release of recalled products and the database of approved products. And because the database shows an entry date of April 24, it was likely one of the products that was ‘fast-tracked’ into the Canadian marketplace to meet the urgent need.
In March, Health Canada allowed an expedited process to allow hand sanitizers, disinfectants, personal protective equipment and swabs into Canada to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This allowed for “products that are not authorized for sale in Canada, but are authorized or registered in other jurisdictions with similar regulatory framework and quality assurances.”
In April, Health Canada announced that it would temporarily allow the use of specific “technical-grade ethanol” to help alleviate current shortages of hand sanitizer, which are normally made with pharmaceutical or food-grade ethanol. The June recall notices were because six sanitizers contained “industrial-grade ethanol that has not been authorized for use in hand sanitizers in Canada.” Industrial-grade ethanol contains impurities and frequent use of the sanitizers could result in dry skin.
Other products recalled in June 6 announcements include:
- Eltraderm Hand Sanitizer – 70% Ethyl Alcohol, made by Eltraderm Limited
- Hand Sanitizer, made by Contract Packaging Distributions Inc.
- Gel 700 Hand Sanitizer, made by Nature’s Own Cosmetic Company Inc.
- Sanilabs Hand Sanitizer 70% Ethanol, made by Sanilabs Inc.
- Hand Sanitizer Désinfectant pour les mains, made by Walker Emulsions Ltd. (also the manufacturer of ‘Walker Emulsions Hand Sanitizer’, but with a different product number.)