The US Food and Drug Administration has expanded its list of potentially deadly and sanitizer products, warning a Mexican-based company about selling products that contain methanol, a dangerous form of alcohol that can poison people through their skin.Many new companies have been selling hand sanitizer products because of the increased demand fueled by coronavirus fears, and shortages of the usual mainstream products. But the FDA said on Monday that many companies are using unsafe alcohols in their products, and is warning people to not use them.”Manufacturers’ failure to immediately recall all potentially affected products is placing consumers in danger of methanol poisoning,” the FDA said in a statement.”A warning letter has been issued to Eskbiochem S.A. de C.V. for distributing product with undeclared methanol, unapproved claims –including incorrectly stating FDA approval—and improper manufacturing practices,” the agency added.
FDA is warning consumers and health care providers that the agency has seen a sharp increase in hand sanitizer products that are labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination. Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and can be life-threatening when ingested.
The agency is aware of adults and children ingesting hand sanitizer products contaminated with methanol that has led to recent adverse events including blindness, hospitalizations and death.
Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due to its toxic effects. FDA’s investigation of methanol in certain hand sanitizers is ongoing. The agency will provide additional information as it becomes available.
Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol and are experiencing symptoms should seek immediate treatment 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 for methanol poisoning, young children who accidently ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk.