August 7, 2020

FDA Sees Sharp Increase in Hand Sanitizers With Methanol

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, hand sanitizers have been in high demand and short supply. Many manufacturers have been scrambling to increase their stock, and the products fly off the shelves. But the FDA has noticed a serious problem with some of these products. They have seen a sharp increase in hand sanitizers with methanol.

FDA Sees Sharp Increase in Hand Sanitizers With Methanol

Methanol, or wood alcohol, is life-threatening when ingested and can be toxic when absorbed through the skin. It should never be included in any formula for hand sanitizer. The FDA statement said, “The agency is aware of adults and children ingesting hand sanitizer products contaminated with methanol that has led to recent adverse events including blindness, hospitalizations and death.”

Methanol is  not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due to its toxic effects. The investigation into this ingredient’s addition to hand sanitizer formulas is ongoing. So far, there have been twelve official recalls of hand sanitizer products that may be made with methanol, including Mystic Shield Protection, All Clean Hand Sanitizer, Eskbiochem SanidermSaniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer, Bersih Hand Sanitizer Gel Fragrance Free, bio aaa Advance Hand Sanitizer, Real Clean Sanitizers, Shine and Clean Hand Sanitizer Gel, MXL Comercial Hand Sanitizer Gel, Herbacil Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer, and Blumen Hand Sanitizer. The recall of Blumen Hand Sanitizer and two other products was updated on 727/20 to include all products. These sanitizers did not declared wood alcohol, or methanol, on the label, but instead say they are made with ethanol.

Take a look at the FDA page linked in the first paragraph of this piece, since there are hundreds of hand sanitizer products for which the FDA recommended recalls, that were not published on the FDA’s recall page.

Substantial methanol exposure can result in “nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death. Although all persons 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.” Avoid these hand sanitizers with methanol.

The FDA recommends that consumers wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to clean them. If soap and water are not available, alcohol based  hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% ethanol can be used.

The government is concerned about several issues with hand sanitizers. The dangers of drinking hand sanitizer under any conditions; that some hand sanitizers may not have enough ethyl or isopropyl alcohol to be effective; hand sanitizers that have false claims that they prevent virus spread; products that are fraudulently marked as “FDA-approved,” since no hand sanitizers are approved by the FDA; and products packaged to appear as drinks or liquor bottles.

If you have used hand sanitizer and have experienced adverse effects, see your doctor. You can report the problems to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program.

 

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