Hand sanitizer warnings continue to grow, 59 brands ‘potentially toxic’, FDA says

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned of a recent increase in hand sanitizers labeled as containing ethanol but instead have methanol, which can be toxic when absorbed through the skin and life-threatening when ingested.

The agency just expanded its list of brands to avoid to 59 different kinds of sanitizer. It said the investigation is ongoing and will provide additional information as it becomes available.

The agency said it is aware of adults and children ingesting hand sanitizer products contaminated with methanol, or wood alcohol, which led to recent adverse events including death. Methanol is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due to its toxic effects, the FDA said.

Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol and are experiencing symptoms should seek immediate treatment. Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death.

Young children who accidentally ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an ethanol substitute are most at risk.

The following lists include products tested by the FDA and found to contain methanol, recalled by the manufacturer or distributor, purportedly made at the same facility as tainted products, or have been identified through the agency’s registration and listing database.

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