FDA issues new warning to avoid nearly 90 hand sanitizers that may contain methanol

July 29 , 2020 10:50 AM

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The Food and Drug Administration issued another warning Monday to not use certain hand sanitizers that may contain methanol or wood alcohol, a toxic substance when absorbed through skin or ingested.
The FDA is continuing to update its "do-not-use list of dangerous hand sanitizer products," which included 87 varieties of hand sanitizer that should be avoided – some of which have already been recalled – and other products being recommended for recalls because they may contain the potentially fatal ingredient.
“Practicing good hand hygiene, which includes using alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available, is an important public health tool for all Americans to employ," FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn said in a statement. "Consumers must also be vigilant about which hand sanitizers they use, and for their health and safety we urge consumers to immediately stop using all hand sanitizers on the FDA’s list of dangerous hand sanitizer products.”
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In the new warning, the FDA says it is "urging consumers not to use any hand sanitizer products from the particular manufacturers on the list even if the product or particular lot number are not listed since some manufacturers are recalling only certain – but not all – of their hand sanitizer products."
The agency says that in most cases, methanol does not appear on the product label but that it is "not an acceptable ingredient in any drug, including hand sanitizer, even if methanol is listed as an ingredient on the product label."
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The FDA said it has taken steps to prevent the products from entering the country by placing them on an import alert. Most of the products appear to have been produced in Mexico and according to the alert should be detained because they pose a health risk.
“We remain extremely concerned about the potential serious risks of alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing methanol," Hahn said. "Producing, importing and distributing toxic hand sanitizers poses a serious threat to the public and will not be tolerated.”
In June, the FDA warned consumers not to use nine kinds of hand sanitizers because they may contain methanol, and added to the list in early July and further expanded the list multiple times in July.
Methanol is used industrially as a solvent, pesticide and alternative fuel source, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Exposure to it can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system and death.
The FDA says it has seen an increase in number of "adverse events, including blindness, cardiac effects, effects on the central nervous system, and hospitalizations and death, primarily reported to poison control centers and state departments of health."
Hand sanitizer has been a popular product to combat the coronavirus since February, and many new types have entered the market after shortages of brands including Purell.
The FDA said Monday that it has found methanol contamination in hand sanitizer products ranging from 1% to 80% in its testing.
Avoid these hand sanitizers that may contain methanol
The FDA is advising consumers not to use the following hand sanitizers because tests found them to contain methanol or they were "purportedly made at the same facility as products in which FDA has tested and confirmed methanol contamination." The FDA also says to avoid sanitizers from the companies.