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FDA expands list of hand sanitizers considered toxic due to methanol

The FDA said its testing found methanol in more than a dozen brands of potentially toxic hand sanitizer.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Close up view of woman person using small portable antibacterial hand sanitizer on hands.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — The Food and Drug Administration has added several more brands to its growing list of hand sanitizers that may be potentially toxic.

Six additional brands recently tested positive for methanol, a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and can be potentially deadly when ingested, the FDA said. This comes just a few weeks after the FDA warned consumers to avoid hand sanitizers from Mexico-based manufacturer Eskbiochem SA de CV, due to the potential presence of methanol, or wood alcohol, in its products.  

The warnings come at a time when hand sanitizer purchases have surged because of the coronavirus pandemic. The FDA said it has seen a "sharp increase in hand sanitizer products that are labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination."

The FDA warned that young children who accidentally ingest these potentially toxic hand sanitizers and those who may drink it as an alcohol substitute are most at risk of suffering methanol poisoning. The symptoms of substantial methanol exposure includes nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death. 

The agency said it's aware of adults and children ingesting hand sanitizer products contaminated with methanol recently and suffering blindness, hospitalizations and even death.

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The FDA stressed that washing your hands with soap and water is one of the best defenses against coronavirus. But if soap and water isn't available, the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethanol.

Sanitizers containing methanol

The FDA said consumers should not use the following hand sanitizers because tests found the products contained methanol or the products were "purportedly made at the same facility as products in which FDA has tested and confirmed methanol contamination" 

- AAA Cosmetica (Mexico): bio aaa Advance Hand Sanitizer  (NDC: 76987-402-01) 

- AAA Cosmetica (Mexico): LumiSkin Advance Hand Sanitizer 4 oz (NDC: 76987-120-01) 

-  AAA Cosmetica (Mexico): LumiSkin Advance Hand Sanitizer 16 oz (NDC: 76987-402-02) 

- AAA Cosmetica (Mexico): QualitaMed Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 76987-250-01)

- Grupo Insoma, S.A.P.I de CV (Mexico): Hand sanitizer Gel Unscented 70% Alcohol (NDCs: 75744-0200-3, 75744-0200-4, 75744-0201-5, 75744-0202-1, 75744-0250-1, 75744-0250-2, 75744-0500-1, 75744-1000-1, 75744-1000-3, 75744-1001-1) 

- Soluciones Cosmeticas SA de CV (Mexico): Soluciones Cosmeticas SA de CV (Mexico) - Bersih Hand Sanitizer Gel Fragrance Free (NDCs: 75165-003-02, 75165-004-01, 75165-005-01, 75165-006-01, 75165-008-01, 75165-250-01, 75165-600-01) 

- Soluciones Cosmeticas SA de CV (Mexico) - Antiseptic Alcohol 70% Topical Solution hand sanitizer (No NDC listed) 

- Transliquid Technologies (Mexico): Mystic Shield Protection hand sanitizer (NDCs 75477-435-02, 75477-435-10, 75477-435-12, 75477-435-25, 75477-435-50, 75477-534-10)  

The FDA said its investigation of methanol in certain hand sanitizers in ongoing

Below are the 9 previous brands the FDA listed as containing methanol from Eskbiochem SA de CV (Mexico): 

- 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)

- The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-010-10)

- 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)

- Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-001-01)

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