The Food and Drug Administration has warned against the use of nine hand sanitizer products manufactured by Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico due to the potential presence of methanol.
Methanol, sometimes called wood alcohol, is not a suitable ingredient for hand sanitizers and can prove "toxic" when absorbed through the skin or ingested, the FDA said Friday.
"Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death," the agency said.
Young children who accidentally ingest methanol and older people who may attempt to drink it as an alcohol substitute are most at risk of poisoning.
The FDA said that after methanol was detected from testing Lavar Gel and CleanCare NoGerm it contacted Eskbiochem last week to recommend it recall the products, but the company has so far not acted. There have been no reported "adverse events" associated with the products so far.
"Therefore, FDA recommends consumers stop using these hand sanitizers and dispose of them immediately in appropriate hazardous waste containers. Do not flush or pour these products down the drain," the FDA said.
These are the nine potentially dangerous products identified by the FDA:
All-Clean Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-002-01)
Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-007-01)
CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-008-04)
Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-006-01)
The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-010-10)
CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-005-03) CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-009-01)
CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-003-01)
Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-001-01)
A company representative told The New York Times that it did not find out about the FDA's warning until Monday and that a "broker" had registered the products with the FDA and shipped them without the company's knowledge.
“We would never do that, send a toxic chemical maliciously,” Alexander Escamillo told the Times.
He said the company didn't even know how to log into its FDA profile.
Federal health agencies recommend hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If it's not possible to wash your hands, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol.
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