FDA Warns Against Hand Sanitizers With Harmful Ingredient

Karen Veazey
Back woman using liquid hand sanitizer.

What to know: The Food and Drug Administration are warning people not to use hand sanitizers manufactured by Eskbiochem SA de CV, of Mexico, due to the inclusion of methanol in the products. Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested. The list of affected hand sanitizers includes the following products:

  • 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)

Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and should not be used due to its toxic effects. — Food and Drug Administration

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The frontlines: The FDA tested samples from Lavar Gel and CleanCare No Germ and found them to contain 81% and 28% by volume methanol respectively. Methanol poisoning can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death. Though the FDA has asked Eskbiochem to remove the products from shelves the company has yet to do so.  The FDA recommends consumers dispose of the product in hazardous waste containers.

  • Young children who accidentally ingest the products and teens and adults who drink the products as an alcohol substitute are at highest risk for methanol poisoning
  • To fight coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control recommend using hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethyl alcohol when hand washing is not available
  • Methanol is not only toxic it is also not very good at killing germs and viruses, according to Forbes

A Mighty Voice: Though shopping for hand sanitizer isn’t as daunting as it once was you still may prefer to make your own at home. The Mighty’s features editor, Renee Fabian, explains that alcohol is the key ingredient. “If you can’t purchase hand sanitizer because it’s all sold out, you can make your own at home. It will also require a trip to the drug store (or your favorite online marketplace) to pick up a few ingredients. ‘Recipes’ for your own hand sanitizer may vary slightly. The most important thing to remember is you need to create a mixture that’s at least 60% alcohol.”

Related:The Consequence of COVID-19 I Didn't Anticipate as Someone With Hearing Loss

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Other things to know: COVID-19 has changed life for us all, from the daily use of hand sanitizers to the inability to give hugs. Here are a few resources to help navigate our new world.

What to do next: The best way to dispose of household hazardous waste, like methanol, isn’t always obvious. The Environmental Protection Agency has some handy guidelines which you can check out here. Remember that they should never be poured down the drain, on the ground or into sewers.

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