Hand sanitizer has become one of the hottest commodities of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us have been toting around a bottle in order to keep our hands clean and minimize the spread of the virus. Some of us have even resorted to DIY sanitizer when supplies of regular hand sanitizer ran low in stores.
Not all hand sanitizers are created equal, though. Most recipes for DIY hand sanitizers, for example, aren’t very effective against coronavirus. While that makes it seem like store-bought hand sanitizers will do the trick, it turns out that some of the hand sanitizers on the market are potentially dangerous, which is why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a statement warning people not to use them.
The FDA is advising people not to use the following products, which are manufactured by Eskbiochem and may contain methanol: All-Clean Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-002-01), Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-007-01), CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-008-04), Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-006-01), CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-005-03), CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-009-01), CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-003-01), and Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-001-01).
Why should you throw out hand sanitizers containing methanol?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “methanol is a toxic alcohol that is used industrially as a solvent, pesticide, and alternative fuel source” and is not fit for human consumption. The FDA warned that methanol “can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested.”
While the FDA is not aware of anyone who has experienced any negative effects after using one of these hand sanitizer products containing methanol, they urged people who may have been exposed to a methanol-containing hand sanitizer to seek medical treatment. If you find that your hand sanitizer contains ethanol, dispose of it in a hazardous waste container — do not flush it in the toilet or pour it down the drain.
There are several symptoms associated with “substantial methanol exposure,” including nausea, vomiting, and blurred vision. More extreme side effects include blindness, seizures, and even death. While methanol poisoning can develop through skin exposure, those who accidentally ingest hand sanitizers containing methanol or drink them as a substitute for alcohol are at the greatest risk.
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