FDA Warns Americans Not to Use Certain Hand Sanitizers

June 22, 2020 Updated: June 22, 2020

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to use hand sanitizers made by Mexican firm Eskbiochem SA de CV because the products contain methanol, which can be toxic.

“Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and should not be used due to its toxic effects,” said the agency in an alert on June 19.

The FDA tested samples of two products made by Eskbiochem, which is based in Mexico, and discovered that one contains 81 percent methanol and no ethyl alcohol, while the other contained 28 percent methanol.

The products include 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), and Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-001-01), according to the agency.

“Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol should seek immediate treatment, which is critical for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning,” said the agency.

Too much exposure can result in blindness, seizures, brain damage, coma, blurred vision, vomiting and nausea, headache, or death.

“Although all persons using these products on their hands are at risk, young children who accidently ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk for methanol poisoning,” said the FDA.

The FDA said it contacted Eskbiochem to remove its products due to the risk associated with potential methanol poisoning.

Empty shelves
Empty shelves alerting customers to limited sales of antibacterial hand washes and sanitizer gels, inside a Boots store in London, England, on March 3, 2020. (Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images)

“To date, the company has not taken action to remove these potentially dangerous products from the market. Therefore, FDA recommends consumers stop using these hand sanitizers and dispose of them immediately in appropriate hazardous waste containers. Do not flush or pour these products down the drain,” the alert said.

The FDA’s warning about hand sanitizer comes as more and more people use the product to prevent the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, also known as the novel coronavirus. During the early stages of the pandemic, reports of people buying and hoarding bottles of hand sanitizer were commonplace, and Amazon was forced to take down listings due to price gouging.

People have been urged to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, namely after going to the bathroom. If soap and water aren’t available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests people use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol.

Eskbiochem did not immediately respond to a request for comment.