These 9 hand sanitizers may be toxic, FDA warns

Heads up, consumers: If you’re using hand sanitizer to help protect against the novel coronavirus, a federal agency recently warned that at least nine such products should be avoided because they may contain a toxic chemical.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over the weekend announced that at least nine hand sanitizers made by Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico may be toxic “due to the potential presence of methanol (wood alcohol), a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested.”

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Methanol can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested, the FDA said. (iStock)

Methanol can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested, the FDA said. (iStock)

“Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and should not be used due to its toxic effects,” the FDA continued. “Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol should seek immediate treatment, which is critical for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning.”

The affected products are as follows:

  • All-Clean Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-002-01)
  • Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-007-01)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-008-04)
  • Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-006-01)
  • The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-010-10)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-005-03)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-009-01)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-003-01)
  • Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-001-01)

The federal agency tested samples of Lavar Gel and CleanCare No Germ, finding that Lavar Gel contains 81 percent methanol and no ethyl alcohol, while CleanCare No Germ contains 28 percent methanol.

The FDA contacted the company, recommending it remove these hand sanitizers from the market. However, Eskbiochem “has not taken action to remove these potentially dangerous products from the market,” to date, and the FDA was ultimately prompted to issue the warning, officials said.

Signs of methanol poisoning include nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, and can result in permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death.

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“Although all persons using these products on their hands are at risk, young children who accidentally ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk for methanol poisoning,” the FDA said.

Consumers who have one of the affected hand sanitizers should not only stop using them but also “dispose of them immediately in appropriate hazardous waste containers," the FDA advised. "Do not flush or pour these products down the drain."