Washington, D.C.— As small distillers step up to aid in the production of hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 pandemic, House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) has led nine committee Members in a bipartisan letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging the agency to update its guidance and allow for the use of undenatured alcohol in hand sanitizer production during the COVID-19 crisis. The disinfectant is already compliant with the World Health Organization (WHO) and regulations proposed by the Alcohol, Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), however, current FDA guidelines that disallow the use of undenatured alcohol are keeping this crucial disinfectant from those fighting the virus.
“Undenatured alcohol is food grade alcohol that is compliant with the WHO’s hand sanitizer formula,” wrote the lawmakers. “It has the same effectiveness as denatured alcohol. However, the FDA is still requiring the use of denatured sprits in its most recent guidance. By requiring denatured alcohol in hand sanitizer, the FDA is preventing the immediate distribution of hundreds of thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer to first responders and health care professionals in every state and the District of Columbia.”
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, 598 distilled spirit producers across the country have converted their operations to produce hand sanitizer with the undenatured alcohol that they have on hand. This additional disinfectant has proved to be a crucial tool for medical professionals and first responders as they fight a deadly pandemic amid a hand sanitizer shortage.
In addition to Chairwoman Velázquez, the letter was signed by: Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-MN); Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN); Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA); Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations; Rep. Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-AS); Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS); Rep. Ross Spano (R-FL) Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations; Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-NY); Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN) Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure.