Calgarians warned of fire risk from canned aluminum hand sanitizer

Calgary consumers are asked to transfer the contents of any leaking Crisis-Grade Hand Sanitizer Refill, which has been recalled, into plastic containers for disposal.

Locally produced product has been recalled for leaking through metal container

The product, called Crisis-Grade Hand Sanitizer Refill, has been recalled due to fire hazard. The area of deterioration in this can is circled in red. (Calgary Fire Department)

Calgary consumers are asked to transfer the contents of a locally produced hand sanitizer called Crisis-Grade Hand Sanitizer Refill into safe glass or plastic containers.

The product has been recalled due to a significant fire risk.

Crisis-Grade Hand Sanitizer Refill was sold in aluminum cans, the same type used for some craft beers. The sanitizer contains ethanol, which is flammable if exposed to a heat source.

The ethanol has been found to react to the aluminum cans, causing deterioration of the can and leaking out the bottom and sides of the can.

"It's degrading the aluminum, and it will at some point start leaking," said Carol Henke, public information officer with the Calgary Fire Department. 

The Crisis-Grade Hand Sanitizer Refill was produced by some Calgary breweries and sold at a variety of local businesses.

The ethanol in some locally produced hand sanitizer has been found to react with the aluminum can, posing a fire risk. (Calgary Fire Department)

The fire department is asking anyone who may have purchased these canned products to inspect them for leaks. If any of the liquid has leaked out, it should be cleaned up with soap and water, and the contents transferred for disposal.

If the can has leaked, then it will be diluted — and less effective — due to to alcohol evaporation.

"If it has been leaking, some of the alcohol has been evaporating," Henke said. "So you can be using it but not killing any germs."

The fire department recommends disposing of any compromised product by dropping it off at a hazardous waste disposal site, which would include a designated fire station or city landfill.

Henke requested that people not use glass containers if it is going to be dropped off for disposal.

If the can is not leaking, it's still advised to transfer the contents into a safe plastic or glass container, then seal the container. This contents may still be used as hand sanitizer.

For more information on safe handling and disposal, go to the City of Calgary's chemical disposal information page.