FDA Adds to List of Potentially Dangerous Hand Sanitizers

More than 100 hand sanitizers may be contaminated with methanol, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to add to a growing list of 101 ineffective and potentially dangerous hand sanitizers.

FDA test results show certain hand sanitizers have low levels of ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, which are active ingredients in most hand sanitizers, and many products include methanol, a wood alcohol, which has toxic effects when ingested or used on skin.

Methanol poisoning -- which is most likely when the product is ingested in larger quantities -- can lead to nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death. Skin exposure alone could lead to systemic absorption, according to the FDA.

The Food and Drug Administration has issued recalls for 59 hand sanitizers that contain methanol, a toxic chemical that can be fatal if ingested.

The agency urges consumers not to use these sub-potent products and has expanded its list to include sub-potent hand sanitizers, in addition to hand sanitizers that are or may be contaminated with methanol. The FDA continues to add certain hand sanitizers to import alert to stop the products from legally entering the U.S. market.

The agency strongly encourages that people wash their hands often. If soap and water are not readily available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol.

Additionally, the FDA continues to remind the public that no drugs, including hand sanitizers, are approved to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

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