As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, personal hygiene is incredibly important when it comes to slowing the virus’ spread. But according to CNN, the FDA continues to warn about the potentially deadly side effects of some hand sanitizers, as retailers across the country capitalize on this highly-coveted good.
In a statement released Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned consumers about hand sanitizers that contain methanol, which is “a substance often used to create fuel and antifreeze that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin as well as life-threatening when ingested.”
Last month, the FDA warned against nine potentially toxic hand sanitizers, but that list has expanded dramatically. According to the Washington Post, the FDA has now identified at least 77 potentially dangerous products.
"Manufacturers' failure to immediately recall all potentially affected products is placing consumers in danger of methanol poisoning," the FDA said in a statement. The side effects of using products containing methanol can include nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system, or death.
"Consumers must also be vigilant about which hand sanitizers they use, and for their health and safety we urge consumers to immediately stop using all hand sanitizers on the FDA's list of dangerous hand sanitizer products," FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in Monday’s statement.
Most of the recalled products are manufactured in Mexico and have been distributed at places like Costco, Walmart, and other major retailers. The full list of products is on the FDA website. Unfortunately, methanol often does not appear on the product label, making it harder for consumers to assess the risk of certain sanitizers.
"Although people using these products on their hands are at risk for methanol poisoning, young children who accidentally ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute are most at risk,” the FDA warned. “Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol and are experiencing symptoms should seek immediate medical treatment for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning.”