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March 30, 2021 4 min read

There’s been a number of stories around the safety of personal care and consumer products - specifically hand sanitizer - since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic (you can see prior FDA updates here). As always, we want to keep you up-to-date with the latest news about the safety and effectiveness of hand sanitizer so you can make informed decisions about the health and safety of you and your family. These recent developments underscore the the opportunity for finding and using safer and cleaner formulations and ingredients with fewer impurities. At OLIKA, we live by our MADE OLIKA CLEAN™ philosophy, which is our commitment to both human and environmental safety and ingredient transparency. With us, you’re in good hands

 

Girl in Striped Shirt holding OLIKA Hand Sanitizer

 

WHAT’S THE LATEST NEWS?

According to a recent study, "some widely available hand sanitizers that American consumers snapped up last year to ward off Coronavirus...contain high levels of a chemical known to cause cancer." During the rush of COVID-19 preparation, mainstay hand sanitizer brands disappeared from shelves, and thousands of opportune hand sanitizers filled the panic-induced gap. According to Valisure, a New Haven, Connecticut-based online pharmacy that tests products for quality and consistency, an assortment of these hand cleaners contain high levels of benzene. Benzene has been known to cause cancer, and The World Health Organization’s cancer research arm puts it in the highest risk category, on par with asbestos. 

 

YOUR HEALTH IN OUR HANDS: Our Commitment to Safety

What Safety Means to Us 

We know that there are many definitions for safety, and we want to be transparent about what safety means to us here at OLIKA. We are committed to prioritizing your health and the health of the planet with the goal of not using ingredients with carcinogenic (cancer-causing), mutagenic and reprotoxic chemicals (CMR’s) or persistent, bio accumulative and toxic substances (PBT’s). 

OLIKA has partnered with Scivera, a leader in safer chemistry exploration, evaluation, and selection for consumer products. OLIKA’s team uses the SciveraLENS software platform to review product components, ingredients, and their impurities for human health and environmental impact. With SciveraLENS and Scivera’s board-certified toxicologists, OLIKA is developing forward-thinking formulations, while raising the bar on transparency and safer chemistry.

Through our Scivera partnership, we’ve verified the safety of our base formulation, which is more than 98% of our formula. We are driving the standard for safety using only skin-enhancing and performance ingredients with proven skin biocompatibility, that are now fully screened for safety. As the science of clean evolves, we are evolving too.

Right now, we are relentlessly focused on fully screening our remaining fragrance blend ingredients, which accounts for less than 2% of our formulation. The truth is, fragrance transparency is a challenge. The fragrance industry is highly protective of trade secrets, particularly about the proprietary combination of ingredients used in products. However, consumers are rightfully demanding to know more about the products they use and the ingredients they contain. 

Furthermore, according to Mia Davis, VP Sustainability & Impact at Credo, “There are over 6,000 ingredients that can be used for fragrance blends.” The fragrance industry has now reached the tipping point and is sharing more about their fragrance blendsOur own fragrance partner at OLIKA is moving toward the forefront of disclosure with providing ingredient lists. 

Spraying Orange Spray in Friend's Hand

 

YOUR CHOICE IN HAND SANITIZER MATTERS: GEL VS. SPRAY

We often talk about the effectiveness of gel hand sanitizer vs. spray hand sanitizer, which goes beyond a simple preference. The DNA of a spray vs gel hand sanitizer is different. Gel hand sanitizers often use thickening agents to create consistency – or that sticky, gross feeling we’re all familiar with. 

Some gel sanitizers use a powder called carbomer as a thickening agent; carcinogenic benzene is an impurity often found in these carbomers. Benzene is classified as a carcinogenic (cancer-causing) ingredient on par with asbestos. The benzene in hand sanitizer is often an impurity that comes from the thickening agent or petroleum sourced alcohol used to kill germs.


THE BOTTOM LINE: You're In Good Hands With OLIKA  

Hand sanitizer is our life’s work. On this journey we’ve discovered there is a massive amount of misinformation about safety. For example, natural doesn’t always equal safe and synthetic doesn’t mean unsafe. When it comes to human and environmental safety, the “bad guys” can be natural or man-made ingredients. 

We look forward to continued improvement and constant vigilance in the transparency and safety standards of fragrance in hand sanitizer. We are committed to closing the gap by 2023.

OLIKA hand sanitizers are designed and evaluated to be free from benzene and other listed CMR / PBT substances of concern.As a spray, our formulations don’t require a thickening agent and are made with plant-based (ethyl alcohol) rather than petroleum sourced alcohol. Over 98% of our formulation has been verified for safety and with OLIKA you can be reassured we always strive to be safer.

If you want to learn more about our clean, simple ingredients and fragrances, you can read more here.

For more news about hand sanitizer safety and news, check out these recent blog posts: 

  1. Hand Sanitizer and The FDA Guidelines: An Always Up-To-Date Resource
  2. Why the Alcohol in Your Hand Sanitizer Matters
  3. Kind Sanitizer for Curious Kids: No Ickies Ever, Why Ingredients Matter

*We understand ingredients, especially natural ingredients, can create impurities during processing. We are committed to staying within the limits of human safety as defined by global regulatory bodies such as the FDA, US National Institute of Health, California Safer Consumer Products, EU’s Annex 11, etc. 

 

Sources: 

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-24/carcinogen-found-in-hand-sanitizers-that-plugged-pandemic-gap?srnd=premium 

https://www.valisure.com/ 

https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/public-global-health/544788-carcinogen-found-in-hand-sanitizer-sold-during?amp 

https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-covid-hand-sanitizer-benzene-carcinogen-20210324-xfnmhfztorfcflursbxdyd5esu-story.html?outputType=amp 


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