Consumers Beware: Some Hand Sanitizer Brands Are Toxic

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now has identified fourteen brands of hand sanitizer products on the market that contain methanol, “a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested,” according to the agency  Specifically, they have added five new ones to the list in the last week and now want to get the word out to consumers.  They advise citizens not to use hand sanitizers from these companies, or products with these names or NDC numbers.  If you experience these symptoms — nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision — seek emergency medical care immediately because overexposure to methanol can cause permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or even death.

Why This Matters:  After the President suggested that disinfectants might be a good treatment for COVID-19, many worried about the public improperly using household cleaning products to treat themselves.  But there are also manufacturers who peddle dangerous products and we need to be able to trust the government when it says a product should or should not be used in fighting COVID.  For many who lack clean water, hand sanitizers are a primary form of preventing the spread of the disease. The FDA has recommended recalling these — but they are not yet being taken off shelves.

What Not To Use

Here is the full list of the toxic products that you should NOT USE:  bio aaa Advance Hand Sanitizer, LumiSkin Advance Hand Sanitizer, QualitaMed Hand Sanitizer, All-Clean Hand Sanitizer, Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer, Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer, The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer, CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol, CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol, CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol, Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer, Hand sanitizer Gel Unscented 70% Alcohol, Bersih Hand Sanitizer Gel Fragrance Free, Antiseptic Alcohol 70% Topical Solution hand sanitizer, Mystic Shield Protection hand sanitizer, and Britz Hand Sanitizer Ethyl Alcohol 70%.  They were all made in Mexico, most by a company called Eskbiochem SA de CV.   A couple of other hand sanitizer DON’Ts courtesy of the FDA — don’t drink it, don’t buy any that say FDA approved — that is a false claim, and don’t buy any that say they are designed to work against COVID — another false claim.

Wear a Mask, Wash Hands, Keep Your Distance

Washing your hands with soap and water is the most effective thing you can do, according to experts.  Hand sanitizers are an OK substitute, as long as it has 60% alcohol and you rub it in until it dries (don’t rub it off!) according to the CDC guidelines.  If used properly, hand sanitizers can reduce the rate of infection by about 20%.

What Hand Sanitizer Should You Use: Our friends at The Environmental Working Group have certified certain sanitizers — you can find them here.

What Not To Use – President Trump on April 23rd

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