The US government has advised consumers not to use nine different types of hand sanitizer and warned that they can be toxic.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulator issued a warning against using hand sanitizer manufactured by Eskbiochem, a company based in Mexico, because of the potential presence of methanol (wood alcohol), a substance that the FDA warned “can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested”.
The agency identified Eskbiochem’s products called All-Clean Hand Sanitizer, Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer, CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol, Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer, The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer, CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol, CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol, CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol, and Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer, according to an FDA notice.
The FDA reported that it tested samples and found some containing various proportions of methanol, and no ethyl alcohol, the typical ingredient. “Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and should not be used due to its toxic effects,” the FDA warned. The agency added that “substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death.”
Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol should seek immediate treatment, the agency said. The FDA contacted Eskbiochem to recommend the company remove its hand sanitizer products from the market due to the risks associated with methanol poisoning.
Meanwhile, it recommended consumers stop using the hand sanitizers and dispose of them immediately in appropriate hazardous waste containers, but not to flush or pour the products down the drain.