Wash Your Hands, or NotBranded pens, notepads, and goofy sunglasses – these are just some of the promotional items we all are routinely see at events and conferences. In recent years, the types of promotional items we see at conferences have evolved to include more personal products, like lip balm and even first aid kits.

Among the most popular promotional products, hand sanitizers have become a prime product offered by distributors because of their decent imprint areas, and branding opportunities. We wrote on PromoCorner that some hand sanitizers contain Triclosan, an ingredient linked to cancer. And we applauded our industry for self-policing the use of potentially dangerous ingredients in promotional items.

After that post went live, I heard from Paul Christensen, president of Natural Trends, LLC, one of the first suppliers to bring sanitizers to the promotional products industry. He suggested that we make a clarification regarding so-called ‘instant sanitizers’ and I think it is worth mentioning here: “While some have certainly imported or produced non-FDA compliant product of poor quality and without proper drug facts labeling, I am unaware of a single supplier who has ever offered an instant hand sanitizer in the promotional market containing Triclosan.” Christensen continued, “USA-made instant hand sanitizer, produced in compliance with FDA requirements, and used as directed, is very safe and effective. All instant hand sanitizers must contain one of two active ingredients in their proper percentages – ethyl alcohol or benzalkonium chloride.”

According to Christensen, “By definition, instant hand sanitizer is waterless, meaning it does not need to be rinsed off with water after use. The FDA requires products with Triclosan to carry a statement on the label instructing that hands are to be rinsed off after use.”

We appreciate Paul’s comments as we strive to provide the most complete information on product safety.

On a different topic, I read an article recently about small loaders, also known as “skid-steers.” The Minneapolis Star Tribune, in a series of articles titled “Tragic Harvest,” referenced a trend of deaths and injuries in the Midwest caused by disabled safety devices or bypassed safety features. While I’m sure these skid-steers are not offered as promotional products, a quote from Mark Hagedorn, a Wisconsin agricultural agent, got my attention: “They have built in a boatload of safety features, but ingenious people find ways to work around safety.” It makes me think about the many cases in our industry where the same could—and all too often does–apply.

Have you ever considered minimizing the importance of product safety because of costs or increased competition? As we learn from the skid-steers example above, it’s really not worth it when you could end up with your own “Tragic Harvest” to deal with.

If you’d like to read more, please check out my column at Promo Corner Blog.

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