Coronavirus Government Response Update—FDA Further Expands List of Hazardous Hand Sanitizers

July 20, 2020 Coronavirus Government Response Update—FDA Further Expands List of Hazardous Hand Sanitizers

Welcome to the Coronavirus Government Response Update. This information is intended to keep ISSA members up to date on fast-moving government affairs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other public policy issues important to the cleaning industry. Today’s update touches on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) further expanding the agency’s list of hand sanitizers containing methanol, U.S. Congress returning with only days to pass a new coronavirus aid bill, U.S. companies fearing workplace coronavirus precautions do not address airborne risk, and more.

FDA Further Expands List of Hand Sanitizers Containing Methanol
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added more items to its list of hand sanitizers to avoid because they may contain methanol, a toxic substance when absorbed through skin or ingested. The FDA’s updated chart now includes 75 varieties of hand sanitizer that should be avoided. “Methanol is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due to its toxic effects,” the FDA said.

Congress Returns with Only Days to Pass New Coronavirus Relief; McConnell to Release Opening Offer
Congress returns to Washington, D.C. this week facing a critical July 31 deadline to pass another coronavirus aid bill as the pandemic ravages the United States. Congress will need to figure out how to iron out differences on policies, including the enhanced jobless benefit, liability protections for businesses, aid for state and local governments, direct payments to individuals, and rent and mortgage assistance, according to CNBC. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY-R) plans to release an opening offer this week. 

Mnuchin Gives Hints of PPP Changes in Next COVID-19 Relief Bill
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the next round of coronavirus relief legislation, which the Senate is expected to begin negotiating in earnest this week, should amend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to let businesses that have had “significant revenue declines” apply for a second loan. Mnuchin also backs allowing businesses that have seen their revenues decline by at least a quarter apply for six-months’ worth of fixed operating costs and payroll. Moreover, he wants funds set aside for minority businesses and is open to giving smaller borrowers a lighter load of paperwork.

U.S. Companies Fear Workplace Coronavirus Precautions Do Not Address Airborne Risk
Many companies devised strategies based on World Health Organization (WHO) guidance that large respiratory droplets of the virus could infect people when first emitted and after they landed on surfaces. However, now that the concern over infection is focused on the idea that tiny droplets could linger in the air for hours, businesses are reviewing if they have gone far enough to reduce this airborne risk. For some employers, the cost of not putting in effective precautions “goes beyond that of workers missing days while they are sick, due to factors such as legal liability and healthcare costs,” according to Reuters.

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