Expanding FDA List of Potentially Toxic Hand Sanitizers Hits 77

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The list of hand sanitizers potentially contaminated with toxic methanol has continued to grow since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration first raised concerns in June and now numbers 77. The agency says that its investigation is ongoing.

The hand sanitizers of concern are available at popular national retailers, including Walmart and Costco. While they are labelled as containing ethanol or ethyl alcohol, FDA investigations have found high levels of methanol in these hand sanitizers, as reported by The Washington Post.

All of the potentially contaminated products are from Mexican companies. Concerned consumers can find the full list on the FDA website.

Methanol is a wood alcohol used to create fuel and antifreeze and, according to the FDA, “is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizer products and can be toxic when absorbed through the skin as well as life-threatening when ingested.”

“Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death,” according to an FDA announcement.

Ingesting just 30 milliliters of methanol can cause permanent vision damage, while ingesting 30–240 milliliters can lead to death, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Consumers who have used hand sanitizer containing methanol and are experiencing symptoms should contact poison control authorities.

The FDA encourages reporting of adverse events or quality problems arising from the use of hand sanitizers to the agency’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program. The agency requests as much information as possible to help it identify the product of concern.

  • Complete and submit the event report online, OR:
  • Download and complete the form, then fax to 1–800-FDA-0178.

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