Hand Sanitizer Warnings From The FDA
In these scary COVID-19 times, there are only a few proven precautions that help keep us safe when we have to venture outside our homes: maintaining social distancing, wearing a mask and washing our hands/using hand sanitizer.
But please be careful when choosing a hand sanitizer—The FDA now warns that there are over 80 hand sanitizers that contain or may contain methanol. Some of these sanitizers on the warning list were sold in huge box stores like Walmart and Costco.
WHY IS METHANOL DANGEROUS?
"Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and can be life-threatening when ingested,” the FDA says. "Methanol is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due to its toxic effects.”
The FDA continues: "The agency is aware of adults and children ingesting hand sanitizer products contaminated with methanol that has led to recent adverse events including blindness, hospitalizations and death.”
"Methanol is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due to its toxic effects. FDA’s investigation of methanol in certain hand sanitizers is ongoing. The agency will provide additional information as it becomes available.”
What Should I Do If I've Used Hand Sanitizer That Contains Methanol?
Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol and are experiencing symptoms should seek immediate treatment for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning. Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death. Although all persons using these products on their hands are at risk for methanol poisoning, young children who accidentally ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk.