FDA adds 20 more hand sanitizers to avoid due to methanol contamination

The FDA has added 20 more types of hand sanitizer to its list of those to avoid because they may contain methanol, a chemical that can be toxic when absorbed into the skin or ingested. 

The agency published a list July 8 of 55 hand sanitizers that have either been tested by the FDA and shown to contain methanol, are being recalled by their manufacturers because they contain ethanol, or were made at the same facility as products that contain methanol, so are suspected to be contaminated. As of July 21, the list now contains 75 types of hand sanitizer. 

Methanol is mostly used to make fuel and antifreeze and can be life-threatening if ingested. Just a small amount can be lethal in a young child, the FDA said. 

The agency said it has seen a sharp increase in the number of hand sanitizers that are labeled to contain ethanol but are contaminated with methanol, which can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death.

The FDA said it is aware of some of the hand sanitizer products on the list leading to death in both children and adults. 

Read the agency's full news release here.

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