One Company’s Hand Sanitizer Products Contain Potentially Deadly Substance

December 5, 2020

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning the public not to use hand sanitizer products made by a Mexican company because they contain a toxic substance, called methanol, that can be deadly when absorbed through the skin or ingested.

The warning applies to nine hand sanitizer products made by the company, called Eskbiochem, according to a statement from the FDA. The agency said it found methanol in samples taken from several of the company’s products.

Exposure to methanol can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent neurological damage and even death, according to the FDA.

The FDA says people may be at risk of methanol poisoning if they use the substance on their hands, but the greatest risk of poisoning occurs when people ingest methanol, either accidentally (for example, if the product is ingested by a child) or intentionally (which can be the case when a teenager or adult consumes the product as an alcohol substitute).

The statement said the nine products are three varieties of All Clean Hand Sanitizer, Esk Biochemical Hand Sanitizer, CleanCare NoGerm Premium Hand Sanitizer, Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer, The Good Gel Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer, and Saniderm Premium Hand Sanitizer and CleanCare NoGerm Premium Hand Sanitizer.

Consumers who own these products should stop using them immediately and dispose of them. The agency said people who have been exposed to these products should seek immediate medical attention to reverse the toxic effects of methanol poisoning.

The agency has asked Eskbiochem to remove these products from the market, but the company has not yet taken action, according to the statement.

So far, the FDA has not received any reports of illnesses related to these products.

As Live Science previously reported, to be marketed as hand sanitizer, the products should contain ethanol (also known as ethanol), isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol), or benzalkonium chloride as the active ingredient.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), methanol, while a type of alcohol, is extremely toxic and is found in products such as antifreeze and racing fuel. As previously reported by Live Science, the body metabolizes methanol into a compound called formic acid, which is highly toxic to cells. The National Institutes of Health says that as little as 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) of methanol can be lethal to children and 2 to 8 ounces (60 to 240 milliliters) can be lethal to adults.

In the past, some people have been poisoned by methanol after trying to make homemade alcohol, or after drinking illegally made spirits.