Hand sanitizers products are made from ethanol (ethyl alcohol). The FDA is warning consumers and health care providers about specific products that have been contaminated with methanol. Methanol can be toxic when absorbed through the skin. Ingestion of methanol can be life-threatening.
If you have been exposed to hand sanitizer with possible methanol contamination, and have symptoms seek medical help.
Symptoms of significant exposure can include
nausea, vomiting, headache, and blurred vision. Anyone ingesting a product with methanol contamination is at the highest risk.
Severe side effects include
permanent blindness, seizures, coma, and permanent damage to the nervous system or death.
In order to identify a product on the FDA’s list, look for one of these identifiers on the product.
• Manufacturer name
• Product name
• National Drug Code (NDC) number
If you find hand sanitizer on the do not use list, discontinue use and dispose of the product. Do not flush or dump it down the drain.
Visit the FDA Website for a full list of effected products.
Hand Sanitizer 101
Did you know that hand sanitizer is regulated as a drug by the FDA?
Here are a few important tips about hand sanitizer.
Percentage matters: CDC recommends that consumers use alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing at least 60% ethyl alcohol.
Storage: For safety, hand sanitizer should be stored out of reach of kids. Adults should help kids so they use the correct amount. Don’t store it in your car as high summer temps and UV radiation can reduce its germ-killing ability or hurt your skin if it has been heated.
Accidental ingestion: Hand sanitizer can be toxic when ingested. If your child ingests hand sanitizer, call poison control (800) 222-1222 or a medical professional immediately.
Expiration Date: Most hand sanitizer products may not have a listed expiration date listed. If it has been more than 3 years since you’ve purchased it, its time to toss.
On a related note… do not use disinfectant sprays or wipes on your skin. They will cause skin and eye irritation. They are intended for cleaning surfaces – not the human body.
Soap and water are still the best germ fighters: While hand sanitizer is a great alternative for times you can’t easily wash your hands, washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is still the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.