FDA Expands List of Potentially Dangerous Hand Sanitizers

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If you’ve finally been able to get your hands on some sanitizer, take heed! The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just expanded its list of potentially dangerous hand sanitizers.

While the FDA released a list of hazardous cleansers as recently as June, it’s already updated the advisory. The regulator now warns against using any sanitizer that includes methanol, which can be toxic when absorbed by the skin. As a result, their list has now grown to some 90 hand sanitizers.

Why Is the List Growing?

At the onset of the pandemic, stores couldn’t keep hand sanitizer on the shelf. People were gobbling up all the sanitizer they could find, which quickly led to a national shortage. Even Amazon was sold out of it. But the demand for sanitizer has stayed high. As a result, many distilleries pivoted from manufacturing alcoholic beverages, to making hand-cleansing alcohol.

This is why you may have noticed a difference in hand sanitizers of late. You may find that them to be more runny or watery. But the most notable difference is the odor, which is more pungent and more alcoholic than before. This is because alcohol distilleries have had to improvise in their slapdash attempt to meet consumer demand.

Of course, this comes with consequences. Some hand sanitizers now include chemicals that can cause fatal harm to your body. That’s why the FDA is keeping a close eye on the issue.

Beware of Methanol

The FDA said in a statement that it was “proactively working with manufacturers to recall products.” Additionally, the agency is “encouraging retailers to remove products from store shelves and online marketplaces.” But if you recently purchased hand sanitizer, look at the ingredients to be sure that it doesn’t include methanol.

The toxic chemical could lead to blindness, cardiac effects, effects on the central nervous system, hospitalization or death, warns the FDA.

Just last month, three people died in New Mexico, and one was blinded, after drinking hand sanitizer that included methanol. Another three were in critical condition. (Of course, you should never drink hand sanitizer, no matter what the ingredients!) Either way, it proves just how dangerous the toxin can be. The FDA is now encouraging people to take personal responsibility in assessing products.

“Consumers must also be vigilant about which hand sanitizers they use,” the FDA implored.  The agency urges consumers to “immediately stop using all hand sanitizers on the FDA’s list of dangerous hand sanitizer products.”

Visit the FDA website for the full list of hazardous products.


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