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These Are the Hand Sanitizers the FDA Says Are “Toxic”

All contain methanol, a potentially fatal contaminant.

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Jul 06 2020, 3:01 PM

Ethanol and isopropanol are the two kinds of alcohol that should be found in hand sanitizers. At concentrations of 60 and 70 percent, respectively, the CDC says they are effective and safe. Methanol, or wood alcohol, is not an appropriate ingredient because it can be toxic and fatal to humans.

And yet, the FDA has found an alarming number of hand sanitizers that do contain methanol. After nine products from one company were identified last month, five more have been found recently. That’s 14 different hand sanitizers that are potentially dangerous.

Exposure to methanol can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system, and death. These risks are most acute when ingested, of course, but it’s also possible to experience these symptoms when methanol is absorbed through the skin.

So far, fourteen different brands of hand sanitizer have tested positive for methanol contamination. All were manufactured in Mexico.

In addition to these specific products, the FDA advises consumers to avoid hand sanitizers from these companies, as it’s possible that products not yet found to have methanol contamination are also dangerous.

For an updated list of products and more information, including the FDA-issued NDC numbers to identify the affected products with certainty, visit the FDA’s website.