Does hand sanitizer cause cancer? Here's the truth

A false piece of information about hand sanitizers causing cancer is doing rounds on the internet. Read on to know the truth.

Updated on May 30, 2020 11:07 PM IST  |  5.7M
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Does hand sanitizer cause cancer? Here's the truth
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Fake news related to COVID-19 or current situations is doing rounds on the internet since the announcement of the lockdown. And now, false newspaper cut out on how hand sanitizers can cause cancer is going viral on Twitter and WhatsApp. The headline of the news piece read: 'Sanitizers are dangerous and people should use apps. The study has revealed that risks of skin cancer increase after using hand sanitizers for 50-60 days.'  The miscreants, who are spreading the rumors are falsely attributing the claim to Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan. 

The rumor-mongers have carefully designed newspaper cutting and also added an image of Dr. Harsh Vardhan in their fake post so that more people can get fooled by the factually incorrect claims.  For the unversed, Health Minister had issued no warning on the use of hand sanitizers. The All India Radio (AIR) and other media arms of the government at Centre and state-levels are taking to their Twitter handles to bust the rumours. 

AIR's handle shared the views of AIIMS Director Dr. Randeep Guleria to debunk the fake claim. The doctor clarified that a hand sanitizer made using 70 percent alcohol has no link to the lethal disease like cancer. He revealed how it just vaporizes in some time.  He, however, appealed to the readers to avoid using sanitizers when water is available. Dr. Guleria also advised that one should try to avoid using hand sanitizers before consuming food with hands. Both hand sanitizer with 70% alcohol and handwashing with soap are effective mechanisms to prevent COVID-19 infection.

Here's the photo of the fake news article:

Tweets by AIR and ROB Chandigarh.

This is not the first time there is misleading information about hand sanitizers. Few people shared videos and pictures of burnt cars and claimed that a bottle of sanitizer left in the car led to combustion. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the USA, hand sanitizer can spontaneously combust when it is exposed to extreme heat (more than 700 degrees F). India Today quoted renowned fire expert DK Shammi, who is also a fire advisor to the Government of India. He said, "Theoretically, a bottle of sanitizer bursting into fire on its own in a hot car is extremely unlikely - if not impossible," However, it is advisable to keep the cap of sanitizer lock in the car on a hot sunny day and not smoke or ignite anything after using sanitizers as they have flammable liquid. 

Toronto fire service tweeted," Hand sanitizer won't spontaneously combust or explode if left in a hot vehicle. Containers should be kept upright and properly sealed to avoid leakage. Containers shouldn't be left in direct sunlight as an added precaution." They added, "When using hand sanitizer, hands should be rubbed together until they are completely dry. People should be especially careful if attempting to smoke, light candles, or use a gas stove immediately after applying hand sanitizer."

What are your views on the same? Let us know in the comment section below.

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