More Recalled Hand Sanitizer May Cause Methanol Exposure Injuries

As consumer demand for sanitizing products remains high to reduce the spread of COVID-19, federal health regulators have issued a series of hand sanitizer recalls for several products that contain harmful ingredients, which pose a serious risk in homes nationwide.

The recalls have included hand sanitizers that contain methanol, which is a wood alcohol that can be toxic if absorbed through the skin or ingested, either accidentally by a child, or by alcoholics who have abused similar products.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow in many states, alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing methanol are still being widely sold by some companies, despite the potential serious harm the products pose to consumers.

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Methanol is a wood alcohol often used to make fuel and antifreeze. Methanol exposure can also lead to side effects like headache, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, seizures, blindness, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system and death.

This week, the FDA announced three additional recalls of hand sanitizers products containing methanol, including: certain 4e Brands North America hand sanitizers that were sold under the BLUMEN product line in various sizes; AAA Cosmética, S.A. de C.V. hand sanitizers packaged in 480 mL plastic bottles bearing the expiration date of April 2022; and Soluciones Cosméticas hand sanitizers packaged in 16.9 ounce plastic clear bottles with blue tops with UPC Code 816822026667 and lot numbers ranging from 0100K01 to 0148K01.

The FDA warns methanol is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizer and can lead to blindness, hospitalizations and even death.

These are the latest in a series of similar methanol containing hand sanitizers recalls issued in recent weeks by the agency, which posted the first methanol alcohol warnings about hand sanitizers last month, indicating the products pose a serious and life threatening hazard to consumers; especially children who may accidentally consume the products.

The warning resulted in a recall for Saniderm hand sanitizer manufactured by Eskbiochem. The products contained methanol and led to the deaths of three consumers after they ingested it. Other reports have linked the products to permanent blindness.

Despite the ongoing efforts by the FDA and the continued warnings, some of the hand sanitizer products containing methanol may still be available at retail stores and online.

Consumers who have purchased and used these products are being encouraged to stop using them immediately and to contact their physician or healthcare provider if they have experienced any problems that may be related to using the hand sanitizers.

Due to the rapidly increasing spread of the novel coronavirus that causes the respiratory disease COVID-19, demand for hand sanitizer products have spiked, leaving top manufacturers such as Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble’s stockpiles nearly depleted.

FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn warned earlier this month 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.

The FDA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend consumers always wash their your hands with soap and water before just using a topical hand sanitizer, as currently, there is no scientific evidence that topical solutions are more effective means of killing germs over normal hand washing.

Consumers using hand sanitizers are encouraged to use alcohol-based products containing at least 60% ethyl alcohol, and to dry hands afterwards for the solution to be effective in killing bacteria.

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