FDA warns consumers about hand sanitizers containing methanol
The FDA issued an advisory against nine hand sanitizing products from chemical manufacturer Eskbiochem SA de CV for potentially containing methanol.
The agency identified methanol, or wood alcohol — which can be toxic if ingested or absorbed through the skin — after testing two hand sanitizer products produced by the company.
“Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and should not be used due to its toxic effects,” the organization said in a press release.
The advisory comes after the FDA contacted the manufacturer to recommend that it remove its hand sanitizer products from the market in light of the risks associated with methanol poisoning. According to the press release, the advisory on nine of their hand sanitizing products was issued after the company did not make efforts to remove these products.
The agency recommended that consumers stop using the products, dispose of them in hazardous waste containers and do not flush them or pour them down a drain.
The FDA stated that it is critical that anyone exposed to hand sanitizers that contain methanol seek treatment immediately to reverse the effects of methanol poisoning, which can potentially lead to nausea and vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, coma, nerve damage or death.
In the statement, the FDA noted that while the products pose a risk to people who use them to sanitize their hands, the biggest risks are for children who accidentally ingest hand sanitizers and adolescents or adults who consume them as a substitute for alcohol.
On June 26, the New Mexico Department of Health announced that multiple people in the state had developed methanol poisoning after drinking hand sanitizers that contained methanol — three people died, three others were in critical condition and one person was permanently blinded, according to AP news. The department noted that all cases were connected to alcoholism.
“FDA reminds consumers to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose,” the agency said in the release. “If soap and water are not readily available, the CDC recommends consumers use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol.”
The FDA said in the statement that it has not been made aware of any adverse events associated with the Eskbiochem’s products, and encouraged anyone who uses these or other hand sanitizing products to report adverse events or problems to its MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.