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COVID-19: Here Are Hand Sanitizers That Could Have Potentially Toxic Chemicals, FDA Says

Nine Mexican-produced hand sanitizer products are being recalled due to the possible presence of toxic chemicals.
Nine Mexican-produced hand sanitizer products are being recalled due to the possible presence of toxic chemicals. Photo Credit: FDA

The Food and Drug Administration is cautioning consumers to stay clear of certain hand sanitizers that could potentially contain toxic chemicals.

Nine hand sanitizers manufactured by Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico could potentially contain methanol (wood alcohol), which can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or digested.

Hand sanitizers on the FDA’s watchlist 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);
  • Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-001-01).

According to the FDA, inspectors tested samples of Lavar Gel and CleanCare No Germ, which found that Lavar Gel contains 81 percent methanol with no ethyl alcohol, and CleanCare No Germ contains 28 percent methanol.

“Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and should not be used due to its toxic effects,” the FDA noted.

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

Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headaches, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system, or death.

The FDA said that anyone using the products on their hands is at risk, though young children who accidentally ingest the products or adults who drink the products as an alcohol substitute, are most at the greatest risk for methanol poisoning.

Eskbiochem was contacted by the FDA on Wednesday, June 17, which recommended that the company remove its hand sanitizer products from the market due to the risks associated with methanol poisoning.

To date, the company has not taken that action and some products remain on store shelves, though there have been no reports of any adverse reactions from those using them.

“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.”

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