On July 19, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalled less than 10 Eskbiochem hand sanitizers for methanol contamination. By August 12, the FDA’s list of contaminated hand sanitizers had grown to 149 products – and it continues to grow every day. As of August 13, even, the list contained 157 entries.
Now, methanol contamination is not the only concern the federal agency has expressed. While some sanitizers contain the toxic chemical, others do not contain enough ethyl or isopropyl alcohol to be effective, and others still contain 1-propanol – yet another chemical that is toxic to humans.
If you have purchased hand sanitizer lately, search for the brand on the FDA’s do not use list and be aware of the following problems:
Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and is associated with methanol poisoning. In fact, methanol is typically used in industrial and automotive contexts and is not designed for human consumption. Exposure to methanol can result in redness, irritation, and pain of the skin, but the real danger occurs when methanol is ingested. Because of this, the FDA states:
“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.”
The symptoms of methanol poisoning become apparent after 1 to 72 hours and can include:
- Blurred vision
- Permanent blindness
- Permanent damage to the nervous system
The FDA has already recorded adverse events, including blindness and death, as a result of contaminated hand sanitizers.
If you believe you or a loved one is experiencing methanol poisoning, seek medical attention immediately.
1-propanal is another industrial solvent that can be toxic or life-threatening when ingested. Skin or eye exposure can also result in irritation, and rare cases of allergic skin reactions have been reported.
Ingesting 1-propanol leads to central nervous system (CNS) depression that is 2 to 4 times as potent as the CNS depression associated with alcohol (ethanol). CNS depression can lead to death and symptoms of 1-propanol exposure include:
- Decreased consciousness
- Slowed pulse and breathing
If you have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing 1-propanol alcohol and experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical treatment.
Subpotent Sanitizers and Other Concerns
Some hand sanitizers have concerningly low levels of ethyl or isopropyl alcohol, which makes them ineffective in fighting the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as well as other germs and illnesses.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends sanitizers with at least 60% ethanol (ethyl alcohol).
Additionally, the FDA’s primary concerns about hand sanitizer include:
- The dangers of drinking hand sanitizer under any conditions (never drink hand sanitizer!)
- Subpotent and contaminated hand sanitizers
- Hand sanitizers with fraudulent marketing (no hand sanitizers are approved by the FDA, nor can they provide 24-hour protection from COVID-19 or other viruses)
- Products packaged to look like drinks, candy, or liquor bottles (this could lead to ingestion, especially among children)
- Hand sanitizers labeled with harmful ingredients (1-propanol is often confused with 2-propanol/isopropanol/isopropyl alcohol)
Although you should never drink hand sanitizer, under any circumstances, ingestion and exposure is more dangerous than ever.
If you or a loved one have suffered methanol poisoning, 1-propanol poisoning, or another adverse event, please report your experience to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.
You may also be entitled to compensation for the medical bills, missed work, and other losses you have experienced.
We can help you – all you need to do is contact us at (214) 739-0100 or online.