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Toxic hand sanitizer: FDA warns consumers to avoid these brands

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Methanol in hand sanitizers is a health hazard, the FDA says. Make sure the products you buy don’t have it.

The FDA says nine brands of hand sanitizer may contain methanol and pose toxic health risks.

The Food and Drug Administration released a warning statement on June 19 saying consumers should not buy hand sanitizer products from the Mexico-based manufacturer Eskbiochem. The warning comes after the FDA discovered methanol, or wood alcohol, in these products. Methanol can be dangerous when ingested or absorbed through the skin, and it can be fatal in large quantities. 

“Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and should not be used due to its toxic effects,” the FDA cautions in its letter. 

On July 2, the FDA updated its warning, noting that the agency has seen a “sharp increase” in hand sanitizers labeled as containing ethanol (AKA, ethyl alcohol), but actually containing methanol. The FDA’s initial warning listed nine hand sanitizer products either confirmed or thought to contain methanol. As of July 2, the list has grown to include hand sanitizers from four more manufacturers. 

Here’s the full list of hand sanitizers to avoid in the FDA’s most recent warning statement:

The FDA encourages consumers not to buy the above brands of hand sanitizer after FDA testing revealed methanol content in several of these products. The FDA also urges people to avoid hand sanitizers labeled as “FDA-approved,” because the FDA has not approved any hand sanitizers. 

The demand for hand sanitizers is still high as the coronavirus pandemic resurges, which makes the recent health warning even more jarring. Many people can’t find their usual hand sanitizer online or in stores, so they turn to new brands that may or may not have manufactured hand sanitizer before the coronavirus pandemic.   

If you have used a hand sanitizer with methanol in the last few months, throw it out. The FDA advises that you seek medical treatment immediately if you’ve been exposed to methanol, because intervention is required to reverse the toxic effects of methanol poisoning. 

Everyone exposed to methanol is at risk for methanol poisoning, but young children are especially susceptible, the FDA says. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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