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FDA Warns Against 9 Potentially Toxic Hand Sanitizers

hand sanitizer

 Marko Gerber / Verywell

Key Takeaways

  • After finding methanol in two hand sanitizer products, the FDA is warning against using nine types of hand sanitizer.
  • Methanol is poisonous when absorbed through the skin.
  • The warning is precautionary. No adverse events have been reported.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising people not to use any hand sanitizer produced by a company called Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico. In a warning issued on Friday, June 19, the FDA said the products may contain methanol, which is toxic when ingested or absorbed through the skin.

Methanol, or wood alcohol, should not be present in hand sanitizer in any amount. While testing samples, the FDA found it in two Eskbiochem products; Lavar Gel contained 81% methanol and CleanCare No Germ contained 28% methanol.

As a result, the FDA is urging Eskbiochem to recall all nine of its hand sanitizer products:

  • All-Clean Hand Sanitizer
  • Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol
  • Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer
  • The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
  • Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer

According to the FDA, Eskbiochem has not yet responded.

What Is Methanol?

Methanol is a non-drinking type of alcohol used to create solvents, fuel, and antifreeze. While it is poisonous to humans, trace amounts are found in fruits and vegetables because of their metabolic processes.

What Are the Symptoms of Methanol Poisoning?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), skin exposure to methanol can result in irritation. It can take anywhere from 1 to 72 hours for symptoms of methanol poisoning to present themselves.

Highlighting children, specifically, who may accidentally consume these products, the FDA also warns against more serious side effects related to ingesting methanol. These side effects are also possible through substantial skin exposure:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Blurred vision
  • Partial or total vision loss
  • Nervous system damage
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

The FDA has not received any reports of symptoms like these associated with hand sanitizer. The warning is precautionary.

What Should You Do If You've Used These Products?

If you have any of these hand sanitizers, stop using them immediately. Dispose of them in hazardous waste containers when possible.

If you think you've been exposed to hand sanitizers with methanol, the FDA says you should seek immediate medical treatment. Skin exposure starts with thoroughly washing and rinsing the area with soap and water, being careful not to break the skin. But your doctor will tell you what to do next.

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Article Sources
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  1. Food and Drug Administration. FDA advises consumers not to use hand sanitizer products manufactured by Eskbiochem. Updated June 29, 2020.

  2. Chemicalsafetyfacts.org. Methanol.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Methanol: Systemic agent. Updated May 12, 2011.