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Home / Blog / Beware: FDA’s List of “Toxic” Hand Sanitizers Keeps Expanding

During the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most common pieces of advice has been to wash your hands for 20 seconds or more. Most people, at home, have access to soap, but carry hand sanitizers for on-the-go use. In public, many businesses and organizations offer hand sanitizers for that same reason

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that people wash their hands after they go the bathroom; before they eat; and after they cough, sneeze, or blow their nose. If soap can’t be used, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using hand-sanitizers with 60% or more concentration of ethanol (also called ethyl alcohol).

A major concern has arisen regarding the safety of hand sanitizer products. According to an August 11 Wood TV report, 135 hand sanitizers have been deemed “toxic” by the FDA. Some of the products have been recalled. Most other toxic hand sanitizers are being recommended for recall. All tainted sanitizers, so far, were made in Mexico. The sanitizers are toxic because they tested positive for methanol contamination.”

The FDA is adding the toxic hand sanitizers to its import alert to stop their illegal entry in the US market. The agency is also issuing warning letters to the companies for violating federal law.

The FDA originally warned consumers in June abut toxic hand sanitizers, saying “Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death.”

The FDA recommends that anyone with a hand sanitizer on the FDA list should dispose of the sanitizer in “appropriate hazardous waste containers.” Consumers should not flush the products or pour them down the drain.

In additional to the dangers of toxic use on someone’s hands, the CDC is warning consumers not to drink the hand sanitizers because multiple people have died from drinking the sanitizer.

The FDA recall list

Anyone who is considering buying or using a hand sanitizer should check to see if the product is on the FDA warning list. The list is being constantly updated.

Methanol, AKA wood alcohol, can be toxic if the skin absorbs it or if it is ingested. Methanol is not an FDA approved ingredient for hand sanitizers. Anyone who has been exposed to a hand sanitizer that contains methanol (or is experiencing symptoms) should seek immediate medical help for “potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning.”

At Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP, our New Jersey personal injury attorneys are keeping current with the COVID-19 safety issues. When injuries or deaths occur to use of product defects, our skilled lawyers file product liability claims against the manufacturers of the products. We also file product liability claims against the distributors and sellers of the defective products.

Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP fights clients throughout the state who have been harmed by defective products. We have offices in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River. Call us at 732-777-0100 or fill out our contact form to discuss any product liability or an COVID-19 claim.