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Posted January 28, 2021

FDA Issues Import Alert on Potentially-Dangerous Hand Sanitizers from Mexico

On January 26, 2021, the FDA announced that all alcohol-based hand sanitizers from Mexico will be placed on a countrywide import alert to limit the flow of potentially dangerous products into the US. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, FDA testing has found many hand sanitizers from Mexico that are labeled to contain ethanol to contain methanol or 1-propanol, which can both be toxic when absorbed through the skin or consumed.

The FDA first warned consumers about the possible presence of dangerous ethanol substitutes in certain hand sanitizers in June, 2020 and has continued to update consumers about potentially-affected products and recalls.

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."

1-propanol is poisonous when ingested and can result in confusion, decreased consciousness, slowed pulse and breathing, and death. The FDA warned consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing 1-propanol and are experiencing symptoms to "seek immediate care for treatment of toxic effects of 1-propanol poisoning."

The FDA warned that while all individuals are at risk of harmful events if they use this product, those most in danger of methanol or 1-propanol poisoning are children who accidentally ingest the hand sanitizer and adults who drink it as a substitute for ethanol.

Methanol and 1-propanol are different forms 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.

Individuals who have been exposed to methanol or 1-propanol and are experiencing symptoms should contact the poison control center and seek immediate medical treatment. Consumers and healthcare providers are encouraged to report any adverse reactions to the FDA's MedWatch Voluntary Reporting Program.

For more information, use the link below.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Takes Action to Place All Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers from Mexico on Import Alert to Help Prevent Entry of Violative and Potentially Dangerous Products into U.S., Protect U.S. Consumers

See related warnings:

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

Beware of Hand Sanitizers Packaged in Food and Drink Containers

Bio aaa Advance Hand Sanitizer Recalled

Hand Sanitizer Labeled as "Edible" Recalled

M Hand Sanitizer Recalled

Hand Sanitizers Marketed for Children, Packaged in Containers Resembling Food and Drink Recalled

Cleaner Hand Sanitizer Recalled

FDA Warns Seller of Potentially Toxic Hand Sanitizer

Wash-Free Hand Sanitizer With Potentially Toxic Ingredient Recalled

Herbacil Hand Sanitizer Contains Dangerous Ingredient