WASHINGTON, DC – July 20, 2020 – According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency has expanded its list of hand sanitizers made with methanol. The FDA announced recently that using hand sanitizers containing methanol, which is an alcohol byproduct made from wood, that could cause severe illnesses and blindness if absorbed through the user’s skin and could be deadly if consumed orally, according to the latest warnings issued by the FDA. The FDA said that hand sanitizer products had been marketed with ethyl alcohol (ethanol) as the active ingredient. Whether intentionally mislabeled or not, any person who encounters any of the products identified by the FDA must discard them immediately.
Companies began making hand sanitizer products to help fill the need for hand cleaning products necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The FDA substantiated its warnings with evidence that people have ingested hand sanitizer containing methanol. Methanol ingestion by these individuals led to severe adverse medical issues such as hospitalizations, blindness, and death. The FDA declined to indicate if the illnesses and fatalities directly caused by accidental methanol ingestion happened in the United States or other countries. The majority of hand sanitizer products identified by the FDA, which must be avoided, were manufactured outside of the U.S. Despite its diligence, the FDA continues to work to identify all hand sanitizer products containing methanol.
The FDA advises everyone who comes into contact with hand sanitizers with methanol to seek medical attention immediately. The FDA indicates that seeking immediate medical attention is the best opportunity to reverse methanol poisoning. The toxic effects of methanol poisoning include vomiting, headache, nausea, blurry vision, permanent blindness, coma, seizures, permanent nervous system damage, and death.
Children are at the highest risk for methanol poisoning if they accidentally drink or eat the toxic hand sanitizer. Any person who drinks hand sanitizer containing methanol is susceptible to suffering from methanol poisoning. The FDA reminds consumers that the FDA does not approve hand sanitizer products, and any labeling, to the contrary, is fraudulent.
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