The FDA Adds to Its List of Hand Sanitizers With the Toxic Ingredient Methanol

UPDATE: The FDA has added even more brands to its list of dangerous hand sanitizers to avoid — many of which contain the toxic substance methanol — bringing the total number of products up to 90. The FDA announced on July 27 that it has recalled nearly 75 potentially deadly sanitizing products, and is working with manufacturers to recall the remaining that are listed.

This story was originally published on June 19.

On June 19, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning on hand sanitizer manufactured by Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico due to a potential presence of methanol in the formula. Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and therefore is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers. This notice comes amid the global coronavirus pandemic where there was a temporary shortage of sanitation products like hand sanitizer due to the spike in demand.

Nine types of hand sanitizer products manufactured by Eskbiochem are being called out as dangerous:

  • All-Clean Hand Sanitizer
  • Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol
  • Lavar 70 Gel 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

According to the FDA, samples of Lavar Gel and CleanCare No Germ hand sanitizer were tested — 81 percent methanol was found in Lavar Gel and 28 percent in CleanCare No Germ.

If you have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol, it is recommended that you seek medical treatment in order to reverse the effects of methanol poisoning. "Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death," said the FDA in its statement.

You cannot throw these hand sanitizers away with your regular trash, nor should you flush or pour them down the drain. The FDA states you should dispose of them in appropriate hazardous waste containers.

To restock, we rounded up a list of safe hand sanitizers that do not contain toxic ingredients like methanol.