FDA adds hand sanitizers with cancer-causing ingredients to list of 260 unsafe products

Contaminated products have led to blindness, hospitalizations and death, FDA reports

Hand sanitizer generic photo
Hand sanitizer generic photo (Pixabay)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to use some brands of hand sanitizer because they could contain potentially cancer-causing ingredients.

The FDA has added artnaturals hand sanitizers to a growing list of 260 hand sanitizer products because they have been deemed potentially unsafe or ineffective.

The artnatural products were found to have unacceptable levels of benzene, acetaldehyde, and acetal contaminants.

“Benzene may cause certain types of cancer in humans. Animal studies show acetaldehyde may cause cancer in humans and may cause serious illness or death. Acetal can irritate the upper respiratory tract, eyes, and skin,” the FDA stated.

Last year, the FDA warned of other sanitizer products that contained methanol. Methanol is used in fuel, solvents and antifreeze, is poisonous to humans and substantial exposure could “result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death,” the FDA warns.

Some of the other recalled products were found to contain “concerningly low levels of ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, which are active ingredients in hand sanitizer products.”

You can view the full list below or a detailed list, which includes information about the manufacturer and reasoning behind a certain product recall, on the FDA website.

What kind of hand sanitizer should you use?

Consumers should use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent isopropyl or ethyl alcohol, according to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The names of the recalled products are listed in the document below:

What should you do if you experience a problem with a hand sanitizer?

Anyone experiencing adverse effects or quality problems due to hand sanitizer is asked to report the issue to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.

Officials with the FDA have said previously that they were aware of reports of harmful effects associated with the listed hand sanitizer products including adults and children who ingested products contaminated with methanol that led to blindness, hospitalizations and death.

It is still recommended that you wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds and especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.

The investigation by the FDA into the use of methanol in hand sanitizers is ongoing.


About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.