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FDA warns against using more than 70 hand sanitizers containing methanol

Reports of blindness, hospitalizations and death have been attributed to contaminated hand sanitizers

(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

SAN ANTONIO – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has updated its list of hand sanitizer products that have been found to be contaminated with methanol.

The FDA is advising consumers not to use these products as methanol, used in fuel, solvents and antifreeze, is poisonous to humans.

Methanol can be life-threatening when ingested and can be toxic when absorbed through the skin. “Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death,” the FDA website states.

FDA officials said they were aware of reports of adverse events associated with the listed hand sanitizer products including adults and children who ingested products contaminated with methanol that led to blindness, hospitalizations and death.

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

Currently, 74 products have been identified as containing methanol, manufactured in the same facility as a product that has been found to have methanol by the FDA and products that have been recalled by the manufacturer or distributor.

The list of products that may contain methanol can be found in the spreadsheet below or on the FDA website here:

The spreadsheet only lists the company and associated products, the full details about the status of the product can be found on FDA.gov.

All 14 companies with products on the list are from Mexico, according to the data.

An NBC report stated that some of the hand sanitizers on the list were sold at Walmart, Costco and other national chains.

FDA officials encourage “health care professionals, consumers and patients to report adverse events or quality problems experienced with the use of hand sanitizers to FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.”

The recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends consumers use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol.

It is still recommended to 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.

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