The FDA on Thursday issued a new warning against the use of five brands of hand sanitizer that have tested positive for methanol. The warning came just two weeks after the agency first placed a warning against nine other brands, citing the potential dangers of the toxin.
In the Thursday announcement, the FDA explained that although the brands had listed ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, as an ingredient, they had tested positive for methanol, or wood alcohol. The toxin "is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and can be life-threatening when ingested." 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 FDA said.
- The five hand sanitizer products listed as hazardous by the FDA are:
Grupo Insoma's Hand Sanitizer Gel Unscented 70% Alcohol (NDC: 75744-0200-3; 75744-0200-4; 75744-0201-5; 75744-0202-1; 75744-0250-1; 75744-0250-2; 75744-0500-1; 75744-1000-1; 75744-1000-3; 75744-1001-1)
- Transliquid Technologies' Mystic Shield Protection hand sanitizer (NDC: 75477-435-02; 75477-435-10; 75477-435-12; 75477-435-25; 75477-435-50; 75477-534-10)
- Soluciones Cosmeticas SA de CV's Bersih Hand Sanitizer Gel Fragrance Free (NDC: 75165-003-02; 75165-004-01; 75165-005-01; 75165-006-01; 75165-008-01; 75165-250-01; 75165-600-01)
- Soluciones Cosmeticas SA de CV's Antiseptic Alcohol 70% Topical Solution hand sanitizer (no NDC numbers listed)
- Tropicosmeticos SA de CV's Britz Hand Sanitizer Ethyl Alcohol 70% (NCD: 76676-402-01; 77676-402-02; 77676-402-03; 77676-402-04; 77676-402-05; 77676-402-06; 77676-402-07; 77676-402-08; 77676-402-09; 77676-402-10; 77676-402-11; 77676-402-12; 77676-402-13; 77676-402-14; 77676-402-16; 77676-402-17; 77676-402-18; 77676-402-19; 77676-402-20)
The warning came less than a month after the FDA issued a similar warning against the use of nine other brands that contain the dangerous substance. You can find the list of those brands by clicking here. The FDA promised to continue its investigation of methanol in certain hand sanitizers and will provide additional information as it becomes available. The FDA said that it is concerned with a number of issues, including hand sanitizers that do not contain a sufficient amount of ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, products that are "fraudulently marketed as 'FDA-approved,'" and products that are marketed with misleading information.
The FDA is continuing to recommend that people wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. In instances where soap and water are not readily available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that hand sanitizer containing an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol may be used.
Hand sanitizers have been among the products that have been in high demand amid the coronavirus pandemic, with many such products becoming difficult to come by. As of Tuesday morning, a Johns Hopkins database recorded more than 11.6 million confirmed global coronavirus cases, with deaths surpassing 538,000.