Contaminated Hand Sanitizer Pulled From Shelves

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in big business for hand sanitizers and other sanitizing products. Sales for hand sanitizers have grown rapidly, and are predicted to continue on an upward trend into 2025. The United States is the largest market for hand sanitizing products in the world, with sales spiking 73% in March due to the pandemic. This spike has come with a toll, however, as it was discovered some of these products contained a harmful substance. 

hand sanitizer

The FDA warned consumers about hand sanitizers containing methanol, a dangerous substance also known as “wood alcohol” that can be very toxic when ingested or absorbed into the skin. The agency released a chart outlining which manufacturers were producing products containing methanol that consumers should avoid. 

Included in the list: All-Clean, Eskbiochem, CleanCare, Saniderm, Lavar 70, and Good Gel. They were all manufactured by the Eskbiochem SA de CV, which is based in Mexico. Additionally, 10 Blumen hand sanitizer products produced by a San Antonio based company 4e Brands were recalled on July 6, as well as the Hello Kitty sanitizer by Sanrio. The Born Basic Anti-Bac Hand Sanitizer was recalled in July with importation from Mexico being halted on July 16. 

Additionally, the FDA warned that anyone who has been exposed to the chemical should seek medical attention. It is a risk for anyone who uses the product on their hands but poses a greater threat to children who may have ingested the hand sanitizers as well as adolescents or adults who drink it as an ethanol substitute. The damages caused by methanol can result in permanent nervous system damage or even death. Some symptoms include blurred vision or permanent blindness, nausea or vomiting, headache, seizures, or may result in a coma. The agency had seen recent events of blindness, hospitalizations, and deaths as a result of methanol consumption. 

Since the health effects have the potential to be extreme, it is very important that people seek medical attention if they have been using one of the contaminated hand sanitizers. Lawyer Gary Massey says, “If someone has been exposed to hand sanitizers containing methanol, they should absolutely seek medical attention. Go to the doctor and be sure to document the visit. Even if they don’t feel any effects right away, it is best to be seen so that if they feel them down the road, you have been proactive about your care. This will help you if you want to file a case later on. Your medical care will be a very important piece of evidence.” 

It is best to be sure that the hand sanitizers being used are safe and do not contain methanol. Check products in the household against the list provided by the FDA. The agency advises that consumers avoid the manufacturers on the list and to be wary of sanitizers that contain methanol, or not enough ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, the bacteria-killing agents found in the products. The FDA also suggests washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as the primary means of sanitizing, and reserving the use of hand sanitizer when that isn’t an option. It is important to be mindful of what people use on their hands, as it could have dangerous effects if containing the wrong ingredients. 

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