The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been warning consumers, as well as medical providers, that there has seen a sharp rise in hand sanitizers that are labeled to contain ethanol (ethyl alcohol) but have been tested positive for methanol (methyl alcohol).
Methanol, aka wood alcohol, is a toxic substance and could be life-threatening if absorbed through the skin or ingested orally.
The federal agency has reported adults and children suffering from adverse events such as blindness, hospitalizations, and even death after ingesting hand sanitizers contaminated with methanol.
The FDA said methanol is an unacceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizer predicts and should not be used due to its toxicity. The agency has been investigating certain hand sanitizers. It will provide additional information as soon as possible.
Many consumers who have used hand sanitizers that contain methanol and experienced any unwanted symptoms should seek immediate medical attention for the potential reversal of methanol poisoning.
Some of the toxic effects of methanol poisoning include nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, headaches, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, or death.
Everybody is at risk if they use hand sanitizers containing methyl alcohol, especially young children and teenagers who may accidentally ingest such products.
The FDA has been constantly reminding consumers to wash their hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains about 60% of ethanol, according to the CDC.
Make sure you do not use any hand sanitizer that contains methanol.
The agency has been quite vigilant about hand sanitizer products, especially during the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 636,000 people so far, globally.
The FDA will continue to take strict action when hand sanitizer manufacturers do not follow quality standards. The agency is aware of adverse events associated with hand sanitizer products. It encourages medical professionals, consumers, and patients to report any adverse event or quality problems associated with the use of hand sanitizers to the FDA.