FDA Warns Against Hand Sanitizers Using This Ingredient

In an advisory from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday, officials said that nine brands of hand sanitizer have been tested and found to contain high percentages of methanol (AKA wood alcohol), which should not be used  due to risk of toxic effects when its absorbed through the skin or ingested.

“FDA tested samples of Lavar Gel and CleanCare No Germ. Lavar Gel contains 81 percent (v/v) methanol and no ethyl alcohol, and CleanCare No Germ contains 28 percent (v/v) methanol,” according to the release. “Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and should not be used due to its toxic effects.”

The sanitizers found to contain the ingredient include those manufactured bt Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico including:

  • 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, people exposed to hand sanitizers with wood alcohol/methanol should immediately get treatment to potentially reverse any toxic effects. They note that exposure to the chemical can lead to “nausea, vomiting, headaches, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent nervous system damage or death.”

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

This announcement comes after the demand for hand sanitizers had lead to individuals DIY-ing it and seeking just about any bottle they can find that follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for sanitizers to contain 60 percent ethanol. So it makes sense that officials are urging people to be cautious and mindful of the ingredients in the products they buy.

“FDA remains vigilant and will continue to take action when quality issues arise with hand sanitizers. Additionally, the agency is concerned with false and misleading claims for hand sanitizers, for example that they can provide prolonged protection such as 24-hours against viruses including COVID-19, since there is no evidence to support these claims,” according to the the FDA. They also recommend good old fashioned hand-washing (20 seconds!) with soap and water, which is a safe and thorough way to clean your hands and kill germs.

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