FDA adds 12 more hand sanitizers to do-not-use list

87 brands have now tested positive for potentially deadly methanol contamination

Credit: AJC

5 new toxic hand sanitizers identified by FDA

The Food and Drug Administration has added a dozen more gel hand sanitizers to a growing list of potentially deadly products that have tested positive for methanol contamination.

Most if not all of the brands were produced in Mexico, and some have reportedly been sold at Walmart and Target. Recent tests found dangerous methanol levels in 87 products that were mislabeled as ethanol, according to the FDA.

A complete list of the toxic products can be found on the FDA website.

Methanol, or wood alcohol, is poisonous and not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and can be deadly if ingested or absorbed through the skin. The chemical is used to create fuels and antifreeze.

“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 the FDA.

Some of the products on the FDA’s list have already been recalled, while others are being recommended for recalls.

The agency is working with manufacturers and distributors to ensure the removal of all the products from American store shelves.

The FDA said it was aware of adults and children recently ingesting the contaminated sanitizers, which has led to hospitalizations.

The agency reportedly sent a recent warning letter to one product manufacturer “regarding the distribution of products labeled as manufactured at its facilities with undeclared methanol, misleading claims – including incorrectly stating that FDA approved these products — and improper manufacturing practices,” according to news reports.

Demand for hand sanitizer increased dramatically amid the coronavirus pandemic and led to a spike in counterfeit products as one of the most ubiquitously available toiletries quickly vanished from stores in the early days of the outbreak. Many households were forced to buy 80 proof vodka as a substitute.

The FDA first warned consumers in early June about nine hand sanitizer products to avoid due to the possible presence of methanol. More and more brands have been added to the list since.

The agency also advised consumers not to flush or pour the products down the drain, but to dispose of them in appropriate hazardous waste containers.