As of Friday, Aug. 28, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has named 165 hand sanitizers on its list of “hand sanitizers consumers should not use.” The FDA is warning customers about products with possible methanol or 1-propanol contaminations. But before you throw away all of your hand sanitizer, you can easily check if your hand sanitizer has been recommended for a recall, and what you should do if it has been.
The FDA first issued a public alert on Friday, June 19, when it advised consumers not to use hand sanitizer products from the manufacturer Eskbiochem due to the potential presence of methanol, which is a non-drinking type of alcohol primarily used to make fuel, solvents, and antifreeze. According to the FDA, methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizer due to the fact that it can be toxic if ingested or absorbed through the skin. The FDA identified seven different distributors of the Eskbiochem sanitizers, and recommended a recall to Eskbiochem of all the listed hand sanitizers on June 17. It’s important to note the FDA itself can’t recall products, which is why it issues recommendations. Elite Daily reached out to Eskbiochem for comment on the recall recommendation, but did not hear back at the time of publication.
After the June 17 recommendations, Saniderm Products voluntarily recalled its 1-liter bottles of Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer on June 26 due to the potential presence of methanol, and UVT, INC. subsequently issued a voluntary recall of the same product on June 29. On July 6, ITECH 361 voluntarily recalled 1-liter bottles of All Clean Hand Sanitizer, Moisturizer and Disinfectant. According the FDA product watch list, the FDA added an import alert to the affected products from Eskbiochem, which is based in Mexico, to prevent them from coming into the United States. According to the FDA, substantial methanol exposure can lead to "nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system, or death."
Since the first warning in June, the FDA has continually updated the alert to warn consumers about more brands of alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing methanol, and the agency expanded its do-not-use list of hand sanitizers to include products containing a possible 1-propanol contamination as of Wednesday, Aug. 12. Accidentally ingesting 1-propanol can cause "confusion, decreased consciousness, and slowed pulse and breathing," while "skin or eye exposure to 1-propanol can result in irritation." There have also been reports of rare cases of allergic skin reactions.
If you have concerns about your hand sanitizer, you can check the full list of hand sanitizers the FDA recommends against using. You can find information about whether a company has made the recommended recall in the “product status” section of the table. Even if the company has not recalled the item, you can still check if you might have it by searching the list for the unique National Drug Code (NDC) number on the product label. If your sanitizer doesn't display the NDC, you can also search by names of products, manufacturers, or distributors.
If you've been exposed to a product containing methanol, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you seek immediate treatment and call 1-800-222-1222 to contact your poison center in order to potentially reverse the toxic effects of methanol poisoning. If you've been exposed to hand sanitizer containing 1-propanol and are experiencing symptoms of poisoning, you should seek immediate care for treatment of toxic effects.
If you have a sanitizer on the list, the FDA recommends you immediately stop using it and dispose of it, ideally in a hazardous waste container. It's important you don't throw away or flush these toxic products down the drain, because improper disposal can pollute the environment and pose a threat to human health. For more detailed information on hazardous waste disposal in your area, you can contact your local waste management and recycling center.
If you experience any problems related to the use of hand sanitizers, you can report the issue to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program. You can either complete and submit the report online or download and fill out a report and submit it via fax to 1-800-FDA-0178. If you need to make a report, it's important to provide as much information about the hand sanitizer as possible so the agency can identify the product.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all Elite Daily's coverage of coronavirus here.