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FDA: Toxic Methanol in 100-plus Hand Sanitizers

photo of hand sanitizer

Editor's note: This story was last updated on Aug. 4, 2020. 

June 24, 2020 -- The FDA is warning people to avoid more than 100 brands of hand sanitizers because they may contain methanol, a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin. Many were labeled as containing ethanol, which is safe, but tested positive instead for methanol, also known as wood alcohol. 

The FDA said on July 2 it is aware of adults and children who ingested hand sanitizers contaminated with methanol that caused blindness, hospitalizations and death. The FDA warns consumers to beware of any sanitizer marked as being FDA-approved. The agency has not approved any hand sanitizer. 

See a full list of the flagged sanitizers at this FDA website

In addition to the original nine brands of sanitizer originally flagged, the FDA has routinely added more. Many have since been voluntarily recalled by the manufacturer. CBS News reported that some of the sanitizers on the FDA’s list were sold at Walmart-owed Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club.

The following products made by Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico are included in the warning:

  • All-Clean Hand Sanitizer (National Drug Code: 74589-002-01)
  • Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-007-01)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-008-04)
  • Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-006-01)
  • The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-010-10)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-005-03)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-009-01)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-003-01)
  • Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-001-01)

In addition, the FDA said sanitizers made by Grupo Insoma, S.A.P.I de CV have also tested positive for methanol and the agency has asked the company to recall the products. The agency has also asked for voluntary recalls of several other products.

The FDA says in a statement it asked Eskbiochem to stop selling the sanitizers, but the company has yet to do so. 

Anyone who has been exposed to a hand sanitizer with methanol should seek medical treatment right away.

Methanol exposure can be deadly and lead to nausea, a headache, blurred vision, blindness, seizures, and permanent damage to the nervous system, according to the FDA.

 

WebMD Health News Brief Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on June 24, 2020

Sources

FDA: “FDA advises consumers not to use hand sanitizer products manufactured by Eskbiochem.”

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