If You’re Using Any of These ‘Hazardous’ Cleaners, Stop Now, Says FDA

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us have a newfound appreciation for keeping our homes and belongings clean and sanitized. If you were a self-proclaimed “clean freak” before 2020, you’re probably on a diet to keep things spotless, and it’s probably gotten even more intense since then. But some cleaning devices actually do more harm than good: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just issued a warning about cleaning products that are “unsafe” to use. Read on to find out what the agency says you should stop using immediately.

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During 2022, the FDA issued several safety communications regarding a line of products. Previous warnings have asked customers to beware of certain unauthorized COVID-19 antigen tests, as well as baby neck floats used for water therapy procedures, which can be life-threatening to infants. In April, the FDA also warned expectant parents against using noninvasive prenatal screening tests (NIPS), which have some limitations and have not been properly reviewed by the FDA.

Now the agency is asking consumers to avoid a variety of cleaning products due to health risks.

uv wands
United States FDA

Modern cleaning products are meant to make our lives easier: vacuum cleaners are more powerful, cleaning sprays are more environmentally friendly and new mops use less water. But some portable ultraviolet (UV) wands — used to disinfect surfaces by emitting UV-C rays — are dangerous to use, the FDA warned July 20.

“The FDA is aware that some manufacturers are marketing hazardous UV wands to disinfect surfaces and kill germs in the home or similar spaces outside of most health care settings,” the agency wrote in the safety communication notice, then named seven manufacturers. and eight affected products.

“Dangerous” products include Safe T Lite from Max-lux Corporation; OffLite Rechargeable UVC Disinfection Wand, Model: UV10002M by OttLite Technologies Inc.; UVILIZER Flip, Model: SG-153 from In My Bathroom LLC; Portable UV Wand Sterilizer from In My Bathroom LLC; Vanelc PURPLEGLOW ultraviolet sterile lamp; Sharper Image Portable UV Disinfection Wand, Model: 101362 from MerchSource LLC; SurfaceSoap UV from PhonoSoap LLC; and Magic UV Light SanitizerTM from Magic UV Light Sanitizer.

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woman scratching a rash on her skin
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According to the FDA, these UV wands can expose you to dangerous levels of radiation and harm your skin or eyes within seconds of using them. These products do not provide adequate safety information or means to protect users, also claiming that the wands can clean a surface in seconds.

“When a product is advertised to disinfect in seconds, it likely means it emits a dangerous level of UV-C radiation,” the agency said. “FDA testing has determined that certain UV wand products emit at a distance of approximately two inches, up to 3,000 times more UV-C radiation than the exposure limit recommended by the International Commission on Protection against non-ionizing radiation.

This puts the user, and anyone else near the UV wands, at risk of a “burn-like skin reaction” called erythema, as well as photokeratitis, a painful wound that feels like the sensation of having sand in the eyes. , the FDA said.

person wearing gloves cleaning bathroom sink
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Following the tests, the FDA sent defect notification letters to manufacturers and plans to work with the companies “to ensure adequate corrective actions.”

The agency asks you not to use any of the UV wands listed in the safety communication and to be aware of the serious injuries they can cause. Also avoid using other wands that do not contain appropriate safety instructions or information about the amount of radiation you are exposed to.

And when it comes to cleaning your home, you might want to take an entirely different approach, as the FDA recommends choosing “safer alternative methods” like chemical cleaners.

If you have experienced a “radiological incident or potentially hazardous occurrence”, you can complete and submit an accidental radiological incident report. You may also submit information about other UV wands that may be unsafe via the Regulatory Misconduct Allegation Form.

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