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July 2, 2020: FDA Warns Consumers about Dangerous Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers Containing Methanol

FDA Hand Sanitizer Methanol Warning News – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is continuing to update the public regarding hand sanitizer products contaminated with methanol. To date, Saniderm and UVT, Inc. have recalled various hand sanitizer products containing methanol.

The FDA has created a web page where the public can check the list of recalled hand sanitizer products and recalls begin, and continue, to roll out.

FDA Hand Sanitizer Methanol Warning Information

The FDA is warning consumers and health care professionals about hand sanitizer products containing methanol (wood alcohol), a substance often used to create fuel and antifreeze that is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizer products and can be toxic when absorbed through the skin, as well as life-threatening if ingested. FDA has seen an increase in hand sanitizer products that are labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination. State officials have also reported recent adverse events from children and adults ingesting hand sanitizer products contaminated with methanol, including blindness, hospitalizations, and death.

FDA officials are continuously quality-testing hand sanitizer products that pass through the U.S. border in order to identify those hand sanitizers containing methanol.

Per FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. in the FDA’s announcement:

All Americans should practice good hand hygiene, which includes using alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available. Unfortunately, there are some companies taking advantage of the increased usage of hand sanitizer during the coronavirus pandemic and putting lives at risk by selling products with dangerous and unacceptable ingredients. Consumers and health care providers should not use methanol-containing hand sanitizers

In June 2020, the FDA issued a warning to consumers regarding products manufactured by Eskbiochem, due to the presence of methanol. Since then, recalls have been initiated by several of Eskbiochem’s distributors and the FDA is recommending additional companies recall their hand sanitizer products, as well.

The FDA advises consumers to be cautious because some of these products may still be found at retail stores or for purchase online.

Consumers should immediately stop use of these hand sanitizer products and dispose of the bottle in a hazardous waste container, if available, or dispose of as recommended by your local waste management and recycling center. Do not flush or pour these products down the drain or mix with other liquids.

About Methanol Poisoning

Per the FDA, methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death. Although people using these products on their hands are at risk for methanol poisoning, young children who accidentally ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute are most at risk. Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol and are experiencing symptoms should seek immediate medical treatment for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning.

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