NewsLet Joe Know


Selling virus protection online: false security?

Sanitizers and cleansers way past expiration dates
Posted at 6:00 AM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 12:07:07-04

Most store shelves are still empty where the hand sanitizers should be.

So, many desperate people are turning to second hand online selling sites for what they hope will protect them against the Coronavirus.

I've been finding people on Craigslist and OfferUp selling hand sanitizer, toilet paper, cleansers that are sold out in stores, for much more online.

Some call it gouging when prices are 10 times the regular price.

But I'm noticing a difference in what's being sold.

Sanitizer dispenser and refills are being sold, like those you'd see on walls at workplaces and businesses designed to protect you.

Andrew had a 33-ounce container of hand cleanser refill on sale for $35.

I met with him as a buyer.

Andrew says he has a lung condition that prevents him from work.

I told him it looked like a dispenser refill and asked if he took the refills from a business.

Andrew said no and that he found four refills that were something his father had from years ago.

He says "I need to have money right now. It's the only way I can make money. I'm not trying to gouge anybody. I believe it's the regular price."

After talking, Andrew decided to give the cleanser way.

In an email, he says he's "donating the last three to an elder community."

He says "helping others for free is the right thing to do at a time like this."

But that's where this story takes a turn.

Andrew did donate to Maryland Gardens Assisted Living in Phoenix.

And they were ready to use it, until they took a closer look.

The facility sent me pictures of the sanitizer, and at the top, you can barely see a faded expiration date. It's dated 2011 -- 9 years ago.

The Food and Drug administration requires hand sanitizers have an expiration date.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends 60-70% alcohol to be effective.

Online, the Hillyard-made product Andrew was selling shows that it is alcohol based.

But alcohol evaporates if it's not contained.

And nine years in an open refill bag, stored who-knows-where -- you have to wonder if it can prevent anything except you staying safe.

Hillyard did not respond to my questions about effectiveness over time.

But bottom line, know what is in your cleanser and sanitizer.

Read expiration dates and be careful of whatever you buy second-hand.

In some cases, sellers could be take your money and just give false hope, leaving you unprotected.