—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to use alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing methanol, or wood alcohol, which is used in fuel and antifreeze and is toxic if absorbed through the skin or life-threatening if ingested.
The FDA has acted to prevent these products from coming into the country and is working with manufacturers to recall products. Also, a warning letter was sent to Eskbiochem S.A. de C.V. for distributing a methanol-containing product with unapproved claims—including falsely claiming that it has FDA approval.
Methanol exposure can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system, or death.
“Practicing good hand hygiene, which includes using alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available, is an important public health tool for all Americans to employ,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, M.D., said in a statement. However, he added, “consumers must also be vigilant about which hand sanitizers they use, and for their health and safety we urge consumers to immediately stop using all hand sanitizers on the FDA’s list of dangerous hand sanitizer products.”