The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to use nine brands of hand sanitizer because they may contain methanol, which can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested.
The agency is advising consumers not to use hand sanitizers manufactured by Mexico-based Eskbiochem SA de CV, which has failed to remove the potentially dangerous products from store shelves despite the FDA’s recommendation. The FDA identified the following nine brands manufactured by the company:
- All-Clean Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 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)
Samples of Lavar Gel were found to contain 81 percent methanol and those of CleanCare No Germ contained 28 percent methanol, according to the FDA.
Seek immediate care
Individuals exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol should seek immediate medical care to potentially reverse the toxic side effects of methanol poisoning, the FDA says. Significant methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death.
Although using these products on your hands presents risk, ingestion poses the greatest risk, according to the FDA. If you have one of the identified brands, dispose of it in an appropriate hazardous waste container.
“Do not flush or pour these products down the drain,” the agency wrote in its announcement.
To date, the FDA says it is not aware of any adverse events associated with use of Eskbiochem’s hand sanitizer products.
The agency’s warning about the company’s products comes amid increased demand for hand sanitizer because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Diligent hand hygiene is important to limiting the spread of the disease. Make sure to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
For more information about how to protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19, click here.