Federal health officials have announced another series of hand sanitizer recalls due to risks associated with products that contain methanol, which is a wood alcohol that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or potentially life threatening if ingested.
As the demand for hand sanitizer continues to remain high amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, federal regulators are closely monitoring an influx of imported products being sold across the nation that contain methanol, which is not approved for use in topical sanitary products due to its potentially harmful side effects.
On July 24, the FDA announced two new hand sanitizer recalls, including Maquiladora Miniara S.A. de C.V. Shine and Clean Hand Sanitizer gels packaged in 1000 ml bottles and 1-gallon containers, and La Loma, Tlalnepantla, Mexico, Real Clean Distribuciones SA de CV Born Basic, Scent Theory and Lux Eoi moisturizing and hand sanitizer gels sold in 16.9 ounce, 34 ounce, and 9.5 ounce bottles.
Methanol is often used to make fuel and antifreeze, but including it can cause side effects like headache, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, seizures, blindness, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system and death.
In the latest recalls, officials have indicated many of the products are labeled to contain ethyl-alcohol, but when tested have shown the presence of methanol.
These are the latest in a series of similar recalls issued in recent weeks due to the risk of methanol poisoning from hand sanitizers, which often come in bright colors, with scents similar to candy and some are packaged with glitter or fun characters on the bottle, which makes them particularly appealing to young children.
While a child is able to lick or ingest a small amount of hand sanitizer from their hands without becoming sick, if they swallow even a dime-sized amount, they will most likely experience alcohol poisoning that could result in confusion, vomiting, and drowsiness. In severe cases, they may suffer respiratory arrest, or even death.
Among popular brands that have previously issued hand sanitizer recalls are KLAR and DANVER Instant Hand Sanitizer), Britz, Born Basic Anti-Bac, AAA Cosmetica, Earth’s Amenities Instant Unscented Hand Sanitizer, Modesa Instant Hand Sanitizer Moisturizers and Vitamin E, Hello Kitty by Sanrio Hand Sanitizer, Assured Aloe, and multiple versions of Blumen Instant Hand Sanitizers.
Media outlets have reported these recalled hand sanitizer brands being sold at national retailers including BJ’s, Costco and Walmart.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for hand sanitizer has spiked, leaving top manufacturers such as Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble’s stockpiles nearly depleted.
The FDA warns methanol is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizer and is closely monitoring for companies importing or selling methanol-containing hand sanitizers. Earlier this month, the FDA Commissioner, Dr. Stephen Hahn, stated that hand sanitizer shortages have resulted in some companies taking advantage of the increased demand by putting their customer’s lives at risk when selling products with dangerous and unacceptable ingredients.
Consumers who have purchased and used these products are being encouraged to stop immediately and contact their physician or healthcare provider if they have experienced any problems that may be related to using the hand sanitizers.