The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Safety Warning for hand sanitizers made by Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico.
The hand sanitizers may contain methanol (wood alcohol), a chemical that is highly toxic when it is absorbed through the skin or swallowed.
The warning applies to the following 9 hand sanitizers:
- All-Clean Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-002-01)
- Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-007-01)
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-008-04)
- Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-006-01)
- The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-010-10)
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-005-03)
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-009-01)
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-003-01)
- Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-001-01)
FDA tests found that Lavar Gel contains 81% methanol and no ethyl alcohol, and CleanCare No Germ contains 28% methanol.
The FDA has asked Eskbiochem to remove its hand sanitizer products from the market, but the company has not yet removed them.
Unfortunately, even small amounts of methanol can cause permanent nerve damage and irreversible blindness.
Methanol exposure can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system, or death.
The FDA says anyone who has used hand sanitizer containing methanol should seek immediate medical treatment.
The greatest risk is for children who accidentally drink these hand sanitizers, or teenagers and adults who intentionally drink hand sanitizer as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute.
If soap and water are not available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that consumers use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethanol.