Hand Sanitizer Methanol Poisoning Linked to Injuries and Deaths: CDC Report

A new report released by federal health officials highlights the risk of hand sanitizer poisoning from methanol contained in many imported products, indicating that the wood alcohol has been linked to at least 15 reports of injury among adults in  Arizona and New Mexico, including at least four deaths and three cases that resulted in vision impairment.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the update this week in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, as a growing number of hand sanitizers continue to be issued nationwide after regulators identify products that contain methanol, which is not approved for use in topical sanitary products due to its potentially harmful side effects.

Methanol is often used to make fuel and antifreeze, but including it in hand sanitizer can cause side effects like headache, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, seizures, blindness, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system and death.

Did You Know?

AT&T Data Breach Impacts Millions of Customers

More than 73 million customers of AT&T may have had their names, addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers and other information released on the dark web due to a massive AT&T data breach. Lawsuits are being pursued to obtain financial compensation.

Learn More

According to the CDC’s latest report, the agency has received at least 62 alcohol-based hand sanitizer-associated methanol poisoning cases from May 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020 nationwide. Of those, it received 15 confirmed case reports from Arizona and New Mexico, involving adults who ingested the hand sanitizer products.

After reviewing medical records of the cases, the CDC determined four patients died and three were left with visual impairments.

All 15 patients were treated with fomepizole, which is a competitive inhibitor of alcohol dehydrogenase. Six patients developed seizures during their hospitalization and nine patients received hemodialysis or continuous renal replacement therapy. CDC researchers indicated that as of July 8,  four of patients were still hospitalized and being evaluated.

Although methanol poisoning typically only last eight to 24 hours, the severity of the injuries that can arise from the accumulation of acid in the blood, called metabolic acidosis, and can set in fast and causing a serious risk of permanent blindness or death.

While no hand sanitizer products on the market are safe for consumption, the CDC and FDA have become aware of unfortunate misuses of hand sanitizers among some with alcohol problems, and continue to persistently receive thousands of calls per year to poison control centers for children accidentally ingesting the products due to their bright colors, with scents similar to food and candy, including some that contain glitter or fun characters in the bottles.

According to a recent hand sanitizer warning issued by the FDA, the influx of unapproved imported methanol-containing products circulating through U.S. retailers have increased the risk of methanol poisoning from hand sanitizers, putting customers scrambling for topical sanitary products to be at increased risks.

To date, the FDA has issued more than 100 hand sanitizer recalls in recent months due to the presence of methanol, which may not be listed in the ingredients of the products.

On August 7, 2020, the FDA announced a temporary hand sanitizer testing guidance which outlines a series or procedures for manufacturers to test for potentially harmful methanol ingredients

The new hand sanitizer testing guidelines require manufacturers to have each lot of the active ingredient tested in a laboratory compliant with the FDA’s good manufacturing practice, as well as instructing manufacturers to discard and report any lot of ethanol or isopropyl alcohol containing more than 630 parts per million (ppm) of methanol.


Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Want your comments reviewed by a lawyer?

To have an attorney review your comments and contact you about a potential case, provide your contact information below. This will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

More Top Stories

Master Baby Food Lawsuit Filed in MDL Outlines How Toxic Metals Caused Autism, ADHD in Children
Master Baby Food Lawsuit Filed in MDL Outlines How Toxic Metals Caused Autism, ADHD in Children (Posted 2 days ago)

Plaintiffs have submitted a baby food lawsuit Master Complaint that is expected to streamline the filing of lawsuits alleging that toxic heavy metals in Beech-Nut, Gerber, Hain and Nurture products caused ADHD, autism and other developmental disorders.

Lawsuit Claims AGGA Device Damaged Teeth, Resulting in Disfiguring Injury
Lawsuit Claims AGGA Device Damaged Teeth, Resulting in Disfiguring Injury (Posted 2 days ago)

Another AGGA device lawsuit has been filed by a man who says he had to have the device surgically removed less than a year after having it implanted due to jaw problems and migraines.