All of the hand sanitizers were manufactured in Mexico and have been flagged for "risk of methanol contamination." Fifty-five products on the list have an issued recall.
Methanol is an alcohol that is most often used to create fuel, solvents and antifreeze, and can be poisonous if it is ingested, inhaled or absorbed through skin, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains. A 2017 study from the Annals of Occupational and Environmental Medicine reports that methanol can cause blindness, nervous system and/or gastrointestinal issues or death with prolonged exposure.
The FDA’s July 2 update states that the products were labeled to contain ethanol – also known as ethyl alcohol – which is the alcohol that is found in alcoholic beverages. However, the FDA has found that the 59 hand sanitizers have tested positive for methanol contamination.
“Methanol is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due to its toxic effects,” the FDA clarified in its update.
In June, the agency issued a notice that nine hand sanitizer products under the manufacturer Esk Biochem SA de CV in Mexico had been identified for potential methanol contamination, including 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)
Other notable manufacturers to keep an eye out for include 4E Global SAPI de CV, AAA Cosmetica, DDI Multinacional SA de CV, Grupo Insoma, S.A.P.I de CV, Limpo Quimicos SA de CV, Liqesa Exportacion or Liq-E-S.A. de CV, Maquiladora Miniara, SA de CV, Soluciones Cosmeticas SA de CV, Tropicosmeticos SA de CV and Yara Elena De La Garza Perez Nieto – some of which are responsible to manufacturing multiple products.
The FDA recommends that any customer who has been exposed to any of the listed products and is experiencing symptoms of methanol poisoning should seek immediate treatment.
The full list can be viewed on the FDA Updates on Hand Sanitizers with Methanol webpage, which will be updated as more information becomes available. The 59 hand sanitizers are reflective of the FDA’s findings as of July 10.
In place of hand sanitizer, the CDC recommends regular hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to maintain hygiene and curb the chance of coronavirus infection. Alternatively, consumers can make their own hand sanitizer if they can find the ingredients and store their mixtures properly.