Consumers should avoid using any hand sanitizers manufactured in Mexico that contain methanol (also known as wood alcohol) because it can be toxic if absorbed through the skin or ingested, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned.
The products were manufactured by Eskbiochem SA de CV, and include the following:
- 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)
The FDA tested samples of Lavar Gel and CleanCare No Germ and found Lavar Gel contains 81% methanol and no ethyl alcohol, and CleanCare No Germ contains 28% methanol. “Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and should not be used due to its toxic effects,” the FDA said.
Anyone who has been using hand sanitizers that contain methanol should seek immediate medical treatment to reverse potential toxic effects of methanol poisoning. Symptoms of methanol poisoning include nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system, and death.
People who use these products on their hands are at risk of toxicity. But children who accidentally ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink them as an alcohol substitute are at greater risk of methanol poisoning.
The FDA has contacted Eskbiochem and recommended they remove the hand sanitizer from the market due to the risks they pose to consumers. But, the company has not responded. “Therefore, FDA recommends consumers stop using these hand sanitizers and dispose of them immediately in appropriate hazardous waste containers,” the FDA said. “Do not flush or pour these products down the drain.”
The FDA recommends consumers wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 second. If soap and water are not readily available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends consumers use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% ethanol.