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FDA Urges Consumers to Stop Using These Potentially Toxic Hand Sanitizer Products

UPDATE, July 8, 2020: Last week, the Food and Drug Administration updated its list of potentially toxic hand sanitizers. The following five products have tested positive for methanol contamination, which can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested.

  • Grupo Insoma Hand Sanitizer Gel Unscented 70% alcohol
  • Soluciones Cosmeticas Bersih Hand Sanitizer Gel Fragrance Free
  • Soluciones Cosmeticas Antiseptic Alcohol 70% Topical Solution Hand Sanitizer
  • Transliquid Technologies Mystic Shield Protection Hand Sanitizer
  • Tropicosmeticos Britz Hand Sanitizer Ethyl Alcohol 70%

June 23, 2020: While carrying hand sanitizer around with you might feel like one of the safest things you can do these days, the Food and Drug Administration released an advisory on Friday that will have you double-checking your bottles. The advisory warns consumers to avoid selecting hand sanitizer products manufactured in Mexico, as they may contain methanol (also known as wood alcohol), a substance that can become toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested.

The FDA names nine products, made by manufacturer Eskbiochem SA de CV of Mexico, that should no longer be used. The agency came to these conclusions while testing samples. Two of the company’s products, Lavar Gel and CleanCare No Germ, contained 81 percent and 28 percent methanol respectively. “Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and should not be used due to its toxic effects,” the advisory reads. The FDA has compiled the following list of hand sanitizer products to avoid. These products should be disposed of immediately in appropriate hazardous waste containers. To avoid further contamination, the FDA asks that you do not flush or pour these products down the drain.
  • All-Clean Hand Sanitizer
  • Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol
  • Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer
  • The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
  • Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer

The FDA notes that it contacted Eskbiochem and recommended that the company remove these products from the market due to the risks associated with methanol poisoning. However, Eskbiochem has not taken any action to remove the products in question. Therefore, the FDA hopes that consumers will take extra precautions when using or buying hand sanitizer.

To date, there have not been any reports of adverse events associated with these hand sanitizer products. However, the FDA says that those who have been exposed to hand sanitizers with methanol should seek immediate treatment. Substantial exposure to methanol can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system, or death. In particular, the FDA notes that young children who may accidentally ingest these products or adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute are most at risk for methanol poisoning.

As always, the FDA reminds consumers to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you do use hand sanitizer, make sure it contains at least 60 percent ethanol, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation.

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