Enlarge /. Hand disinfectant is applied to a person's hand.
The Food and Drug Administration warns again this week of dangerous hand sanitizers as it continues to find products that contain toxic methanol – a toxic alcohol that can cause systemic effects, blindness, and death.
The agency's growing list of dangerous disinfectants now includes 87 products. And as the number increases, the FDA also says there are increasing reports from state health departments and poison control centers about injuries and deaths.
"We remain extremely concerned about the potentially serious risks of alcohol-based hand disinfectants containing methanol," said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn in a statement.
Good hand hygiene, including the use of hand sanitizers when hand washing is not possible, is an important public health practice, particularly in the midst of the pandemic. Dr. However, Hahn said: "Consumers must also be vigilant about which hand sanitizers they use. For health and safety reasons, we urge consumers to immediately stop using all hand sanitizers on the FDA's list of dangerous hand sanitizers."
Lavar 70 label.
Disinfectants from Esk Biochem.
Mystical shield protection. Hand disinfectant.
Berish hand disinfectant.
Hand disinfection gel from Grupo Insoma.
The agency reported that its ongoing tests found methanol-containing disinfectants in concentrations of 1 to 80 percent. No amount of methanol is acceptable, the agency notes. The alcohol, which is metabolized in the body to formaldehyde and then to formic acid, can have systemic toxic effects if it is absorbed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Taking just two tablespoons can be fatal to young children who may be tempted to drink disinfectant within range. Smaller amounts can lead to permanent blindness.
States continue to report increasing reports of damage from the products that can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent nervous system damage, heart effects and death. In one case, investigators have linked a death to Blumen Hand Sanitizer, distributed by 4e North America and manufactured by 4E Global in Mexico. The company recently expanded a product recall, according to the FDA.
Alerts on toxic hand sanitizers were first released in late June when the FDA identified nine products, all from a manufacturer in Mexico. In an update earlier this month, the FDA announced that it had identified five other brands of methanol-based disinfectants.
The FDA has sent warning letters to companies, pushed for recalls and put products on import warnings. For consumers, the agency recommends avoiding all products from one of the manufacturers on the list. If you find that you have one of these products, stop using it immediately, dispose of it in a special waste container (do not flush it into the drain), if necessary, see a doctor immediately and report the case to the FDA.