(NEWS NATION) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Monday issued an updated warning to consumers not to use certain alcohol-based hand sanitizers due to the presence of methanol, also known as wood alcohol. Methanol can be toxic when absorbed through the skin, the FDA cautioned, as well as life-threatening when ingested.
⚠ See full list of recalled products lower in the story.
In a news release, the FDA said they are taking additional action to keep certain hand sanitizers from entering the U.S. by placing them on an import alert.
The FDA first issued a warning about some of the methanol-containing hand sanitizers being sold in stores and online back in June. They issued a further warning earlier in July about an “increasing number of adverse events, including blindness, cardiac effects, effects on the central nervous system, and hospitalizations and death.” They noted in Monday’s release that they continue to see these figures rise.
“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 M. Hahn, M.D. said. “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. We remain extremely concerned about the potential serious risks of alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing methanol. Producing, importing and distributing toxic hand sanitizers poses a serious threat to the public and will not be tolerated. The FDA will take additional action as necessary and will continue to provide the latest information on this issue for the health and safety of consumers.”
The agency is regularly updating a do-not-use list of dangerous hand sanitizer products. The release stresses that in most cases, methanol does not appear on the product label, but it is not an acceptable ingredient in any drug, including hand sanitizer, even if it is listed on the product label.
The FDA says ongoing testing has found methanol contamination in hand sanitizer products ranging from 1% to 80%.
When attempting to identify hand sanitizers from the FDA’s do-not-use list, the agency says consumers should look for one or more identifiers from the list that match the product’s labeling, including:
- Manufacturer name
- Product name
- National Drug Code (NDC) number
If any of the identifies match a product on the list, the FDA urges consumers to stop using the hand sanitizer immediately:
Dispose of the hand sanitizer bottle in a hazardous waste container, if available, or dispose of as recommended by local waste management and recycling centers. Do not flush or pour these products down the drain or mix with other liquids.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration
If you think you have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol and are experiencing symptoms, the FDA says to seek immediate medical treatment,