The Food and Drug Administration’s list of hand sanitizers to avoid because they may contain methanol continues to grow.
As of Saturday, the FDA’s “do-not-use list of dangerous hand sanitizer products” now includes 101 varieties of hand sanitizer that should be avoided – some that have already been recalled and other products being recommended for recalls – as they may contain methanol, a potentially fatal ingredient.
Methanol is a toxic substance when absorbed through skin or ingested.
“FDA continues to find issues with certain hand sanitizer products. FDA test results show certain hand sanitizers have concerningly low levels of ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, which are active ingredients in hand sanitizer products,” the federal agency said. “The agency urges consumers not to use these subpotent products and has expanded its list to include subpotent hand sanitizers, in addition to hand sanitizers that are or may be contaminated with methanol.”
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In a warning July 27, 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 avoided because they pose a health risk.
“We remain extremely concerned about the potential serious risks of alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing methanol,”
FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn said in a statement. “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.
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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 manufacturers.
Find more information, including the product code where available, on the FDA website.
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The following products have been recalled as of Aug. 1: