The US Food and Drug Administration repeatedly warned consumers and health care professionals to stop using certain alcohol-based hand sanitizers due to the presence of methanol.
Methanol, or most commonly known as wood alcohol, are often used to create fuel and antifreeze, which can be toxic when absorbed through the skin and deadly when ingested.
To prevent certain hand sanitizers from entering the country, the agency placed products known to have methanol on an import alert.
The agency is also actively working with manufacturers to recall products and repeatedly encourage retailers to take the products off the store shelves and online marketplaces.
A warning letter regarding the products in question has been issued as well, as some manufacturers distributed products falsely labeled as FDA approved while not declaring methanol as one of its ingredients.
The FDA first warned of some of the methanol-containing hand sanitizers in June, and issued another earlier this month to include increasing number of adverse event such as blindness, cardiac effects, effects on the central nervous system, and hospitalizations and death.
The agency has since see reports from poison control centers and state departments of health, and the figures continue to rise.
“Practicing good hand hygiene, which includes using alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available, is an important public health tool for all Americans to employ,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D.
“Consumers must also be vigilant about which hand sanitizers they use, and for their health and safety we urge consumers to immediately stop using all hand sanitizers on the FDA’s list of dangerous hand sanitizer products.”
“We remain extremely concerned about the potential serious risks of alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing methanol. Producing, importing and distributing toxic hand sanitizers poses a serious threat to the public and will not be tolerated. The FDA will take additional action as necessary and will continue to provide the latest information on this issue for the health and safety of consumers.”