Posted June 23, 2020

Nine Hand Sanitizers May Contain Toxic Ingredient That Can Cause Serious Illness or Death

Update: (7/14/20) The FDA has warned consumers not to use forty-six more hand sanitizers that may contain methanol.

Update: (7/7/20) ITECH 361 has has issued a recall of their product.

Update: (7/7/20) The FDA has warned consumers not to use five more hand sanitizers that may contain methanol.

Update: (6/27/20) Saniderm has issued a recall of their products in certain states.

On June 19, 2020, the FDA warned consumers not to use any hand sanitizer manufactured by Eskbiochem SA because they may contain methanol, which is toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested.

The FDA identified the following nine hand sanitizers as manufactured by Eskbiochem:
  • 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)
The FDA tested samples of two of the products, Lavar Gel and CleanCare No Germ, and found them to contain, respectively, 81% (v/v) and 28% (v/v) methanol.

Methanol, sometimes called wood alcohol, is poisonous. Methanol exposure through the skin or by ingestion can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death. The agency warned that consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol to "seek immediate treatment, which is critical for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning." 

Consumers who have these hand sanitizers should dispose of them immediately in hazardous waste containers. The products should not be flushed or poured down the drain.

The FDA contacted Eskbiochem, which is based in Mexico, and recommended the company remove its hand sanitizers from the market.

Methanol is a different form of alcohol than ethyl alcohol. Hand sanitizer containing at least 60% ethyl alcohol is recommended by the CDC for disinfecting hands when soap and water are not available, and is generally considered safe when used as directed. See the CDC's website for more information about using hand sanitizer.

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