Following three deaths and at least one report involving problems that resulted in blindness, federal health officials have announced a recall of Saniderm hand sanitizer products distributed for sale on the East Coast, due to potentially toxic ingredients.
The FDA announced the hand sanitizer recall on June 27, after the manufacturer acknowledged the hand sanitizers were produced with methanol, a wood alcohol that may result in serious and life threatening injuries if consumed.
According to health officials, Saniderm hand sanitizer products have been linked to at least three deaths after consumers attempted to drink the products, which is an unfortunate misuse of hand sanitizers among some with alcohol problems. There was also at least one reported case in which the hand sanitizer resulted in blindness in Mexico.
Officials are warning that the active ingredient in the hand sanitizer, methanol, can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death if accidentally or intentionally consumed, raising concerns about misuse or children who may get access to the bottles.
The recall includes Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 1-liter plastic bottles with an orange twist-top cap that are marked with the lot number 53131626. The products were manufactured in Mexico by Eskbiochem SA de CV on April 1, 2020 and were distributed for sale in the United States to retailers in Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey on April 15, 2020.
Hand sanitizers are intended to be used when soap and water are not available. However, they have become increasingly popular in the home and office settings. The topical antiseptics typically containing between 40% and 90% ethyl alcohol are left on the hands and not rinsed off with water.
While millions of Americans use hand sanitizers daily, sometimes multiple times a day, to reduce bacteria, growing concerns have also emerged amid thousands of reports annually of hand sanitizer poisonings to U.S. Poison Control Centers, often involving young children.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) reports roughly 9,300 incidents of hand sanitizer poisonings were recorded in the first half of 2017, and more than 12,000 were recorded in the first half of 2018. The agency further reported more than 70,000 reports of hand sanitizer poisoning among children were recorded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 2011 to 2014, involving both alcohol based and non-alcohol based hand sanitizers.
Hand sanitizer products often come in bright colors, with scents similar to food and candy, including some that contain glitter or fun characters in the bottles, which make the products especially 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.
While FDA-approved hand sanitizers all pose a risk to consumers who accidentally ingest them, the newly recalled products containing methanol pose a severe risk of injury or death if accidentally or intentionally ingested.
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, can set in fast and cause permanent blindness or death.
Officials are urging consumers to immediately quarantine any of the recalled products and to put them out of reach of children or those who may potentially consume the hand sanitizer.
Consumers with questions regarding this voluntary recall can contact Saniderm at +1 (415) 562-5502 or email@example.com