The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a warning to consumers about hand sanitizers manufactured in Mexico. The agency has put together a list of nine products that are to be avoided because they may be fatal to the consumer.

If the hand sanitizer in your handbag or pocket is one of these, the FDA asks that you “stop using these hand sanitizers and dispose of them immediately in appropriate hazardous waste containers. Do not flush or pour these products down the drain.”

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)

These nine brands are manufactured by Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico. The problem is an ingredient used in these hand sanitizers – methanol. Methanol is also known as wood alcohol. Methanol is toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested. The FDA recommends that if you have used these products, seek immediate treatment.

FDA tested samples of Lavar Gel and CleanCare No Germ. Lavar Gel contains 81 percent (v/v) methanol and no ethyl alcohol, and CleanCare No Germ contains 28 percent (v/v) methanol. Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and should not be used due to its toxic effects.

Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol should seek immediate treatment, which is critical for potential reversal of toxic 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. Although all persons using these products on their hands are at risk, young children who accidentally ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk for methanol poisoning.

That all sounds dire, right? Who wants any of that in their possession? Fortunately, the FDA is not aware of any reports of adverse effects from using the products. The FDA is telling consumers to seek immediate treatment if any of these products have been used, though, to reverse any toxic effects of methanol poisoning.

So, have the products been removed from store shelves? Nope. Eskbiochem has not honored the FDA’s request to do so. They are still on the market.

On June 17, 2020, FDA contacted Eskbiochem to recommend the company remove its hand sanitizer products from the market due to the risks associated with methanol poisoning. To date, the company has not taken action to remove these potentially dangerous products from the market. Therefore, FDA recommends consumers stop using these hand sanitizers and dispose of them immediately in appropriate hazardous waste containers. Do not flush or pour these products down the drain.

It’s still recommended that people wash their hands with soap and water for twenty seconds, and to do so often. If soap and water aren’t available, the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol. Ethanol, not methanol. Oh, and tell the young people in your life to not drink hand sanitizer as a substitute for alcohol because apparently that’s a thing.

The important takeaway, to me anyway, is that this story is a reminder that it is best to buy an American made product. There are many brands of hand sanitizers made in America.