Canned sanitizer could be fire hazard: Calgary Fire Department

Ethanol-based hand sanitizer is seen in a Calgary liquor store. Melissa Gilligan, Global News

Depending on what kind of hand sanitizer you have, it could be a fire risk, according to the Calgary Fire Department (CFD).

The CFD issued a news release Monday warning about ethanol-based hand sanitizers sold in aluminum cans, produced by some local breweries and distilleries.

The cans look similar to those used for craft beer, and it is the reaction between the ethanol used in the sanitizer and the material the cans are made of that officials are concerned about.

According to the CFD, that reaction can cause the container to deteriorate, allowing the liquid to leak out the bottom and sides of the can. Ethanol or ethyl alcohol is flammable when exposed to a heat source or open flame, which is what prompted the warning.

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The fire department said these sanitizers were distributed by a number of businesses and should be safely disposed of.

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If you have a can of ethanol-based sanitizer that has leaked, the CFD advises cleaning up that liquid with soap and water. If you have a can that is still intact and you would like to keep the sanitizer, fire officials say that liquid should be transferred to a plastic or glass container. If the sanitizer has been exposed to air from a leak, the CFD said it will not be as effective as if it were stored properly and suggests transferring the product to a sealed and leakproof container, clearly labelling it and dropping it off at any Calgary household hazardous waste drop-off location.

Fire officials said Monday the local manufacturer has been notified and recalled the product. However, they advised other manufacturers may have made similar canned products.

Aluminum cans that are starting to be affected by ethanol-based hand sanitizer will likely show discolouration, rough patches and/or bulges.

The reaction between ethanol-based hand sanitizer and aluminum cans could create a deadly problem. Calgary Fire Department

A CFD official told Global News Monday night that the department has not responded to any fire calls as a result of this reaction and said the news release was issued as a preventative measure after being advised of the potential fire hazard.

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For more information on this or any other hand sanitizer recalls click here.

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