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FDA Finds Issues with Some Hand Sanitizer Products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent out public alerts warning the public of issues they have found with certain hand sanitizer products. FDA test results show some hand sanitizers on the market have concerningly low levels of the active ingredients in hand sanitizer products which includes ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol. Consumers are urged to pay attention to the levels of ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol contained in hand sanitizer before purchasing and relying on it. In addition to containing too low levels of ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol, it has been found that some hand sanitizers may also be contaminated with methanol or wood alcohol. Methanol is a highly toxic chemical that is used in solvents, fuel, and antifreeze. Exposure to methanol may lead to serious side effects such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, nervous system damage, coma, and death.

In total, the FDA has recalled a total of 176 hand sanitizer products due to dangerous methanol contamination and reports of hospitalizations due to blindness, vision issues, and death. FDA officials have issued numerous warnings of injuries such as blindness, hospitalizations, and even death. The list of recalled products is large and only continues to grow. Some of the recalled brands even involve large retail chains such as Costco and Walmart.

In addition to paying special attention to the ingredients in your hand sanitizer, the FDA reminds consumers to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating, after using the restroom, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose. If soap and water are not readily available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend consumers use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol or ethyl alcohol.

The FDA recommends that consumers stay informed and try to keep updated on the growing list of recalled hand sanitizers as many do not list methanol as an ingredient on the hand sanitizer label. The FDA’s investigation is ongoing, for more information about the warnings and recall list of hand sanitizers, visit the FDA hand sanitizer page.