The FDA Has Expanded Its List of Potentially Deadly Hand Sanitizers

Checking the label isn't enough—you should check the FDA's recall list.
Checking the label isn't enough—you should check the FDA's recall list. / Kelly Sikkema, Unsplash

As manufacturers rush to meet the increased demand for hand sanitizer during the coronavirus pandemic, some are failing to abide by the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) safety regulations. Earlier this month, the FDA recalled dozens of hand sanitizer brands that contained methanol, a poisonous chemical that can cause nausea, headache, blurred vision, and other illness when ingested or even absorbed through the skin.

CNN reports that on Monday, July 27, the organization released a statement warning consumers to look out for previously recalled products that may still be on shelves. It also added a few more brands to the recall list, including Herbacil, Jaloma, and Leiper’s Fork Distillery.

Methanol does kill germs, but its toxicity makes it an unacceptable ingredient in any FDA-regulated drug. And since many of the recalled products don’t list methanol anywhere on the product label, simply making sure you don’t see the word methanol on a bottle of hand sanitizer doesn’t mean it’s safe. Instead, the FDA recommends avoiding all products whose manufacturer name, product name, or National Drug Code (NDC) number appears on the recall list.

“Producing, importing and distributing toxic hand sanitizers poses a serious threat to the public and will not be tolerated,” FDA commissioner Stephen M. Hahn said in a press release. “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.”

Part of this action involves sending warning letters to manufacturers who don’t immediately recall their toxic products. The letters—like this one, which the FDA sent to Mexico-based company EskBiochem SA de CV—demand detailed investigations, lists of raw materials, shipping records, and more.

You can view the FDA’s full list of recalled hand sanitizers here.

[h/t CNN]