Severe burns on a man's hands from a hand sanitizer fire?-Fiction!

Severe Burns on a Man’s Hands Because His Cigarette Ignited Hand Sanitizer Gel Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

The eRumor appears to be from Chevron and warns about the possibility that hand sanitizer gel could ignite on your hands.  It shows pictures of a man who allegedly experienced that during a cigarette break.  The eRumor shows a picture of Purell brand hand sanitizer and warns to not get your hands near a flame before fully rubbing the gel into your skin.

The Truth:

This story is a hoax.

There is no documented case of anyone experiencing burns to the hands after using hand sanitizer.

Johnson and Johnson, the parent company of the makers of Purell, told that the circulated email is not authentic but that they do not know who originated it.  

Chevron told that they were not aware of its origins either and that it did not reflect any official statement from the company.

The eRumor falsely claims to have a Chevron copyright from 2005.  That is doubtful because this story started circulating on the Internet in mid-January, 2007.  There is no previous evidence of it.  The eRumor circulates as a PDF attachment, which was created on January 16 and may be when the eRumor originated.

A spokesperson for Johnson and Johnson also said, however, that Purell, which is 62 percent alcohol, is very flammable and should be kept away from flame.  The company has not heard of any cases where the product has ignited after being rubbed on the hands and noted that when rubbed on the hands properly would probably not ignite.

In 1998 the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration studied the safety of a particular brand of ethanol-based gel hand cleaner, the Sanitizer Gel Dispensing System.  The conclusion was that the gel did not spontaneously ignite when exposed to elevated temperatures and even when it was lighted into an open flame, it was easily extinguished.  Even putting a full bottle of the product into flames did not result in fire.  

Updated 1-26-07