The global pandemic that we are facing right now has urged us to be more protective of ourselves. It is now a must to wear a mask. Keeping our hands clean is also essential. Soap, alcohol, and hand sanitizers are our weapons against the virus.
It turns out that some of the things that we thought would protect us can possibly harm us.
The Food and Drug Administration has warned the public regarding the “dangerous” hand sanitizers.
As of August 4, FDA updated its recall list and there are 115 hand sanitizers that are considered hazardous. These products have tested positive for methanol contamination.
What is methanol?
It is wood alcohol that is hazardous to humans especially if its ingested and inhaled. Even the Methanol Institute has warned everyone that it should not be used as a hand sanitizer and even surface cleaner.
According to the FDA, if hand sanitizers with methanol are ingested by children or even adults, it can lead to blindness or even death.
“Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system, or death.”
Based on the FDA’s list of hand sanitizers that contain methanol, most of the manufacturers are from Mexico.
Aside from having methanol, some brands that are on the list are found to have microbial contamination. There are also sanitizers that contain “less than the required amount of ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol or benzalkonium chloride.”
FDA warns the consumers to avoid using products from manufacturers that are included in the list “since some manufacturers are recalling only certain – but not all – of their hand sanitizer products”. They also added that their investigation among these sanitizers that contain methanol is ongoing.
According to the FDA, there are products that are “fraudulently marketed as FDA-approved” despite the fact that there is no hand sanitizer that approved by them.
It’s sad that because of the high demand for these products, some people don’t mind the safety of other people just to take advantage of the situation.
FDA also disseminated this warning on social media. On Twitter, they wrote, “Today, we continue to warn consumers and HCPs about dangerous alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing methanol (wood alcohol) and taking additional action to address concerning products.”
Today, we continue to warn consumers and HCPs about dangerous alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing methanol (wood alcohol) and taking additional action to address concerning products: https://t.co/BP0UeGQeyj pic.twitter.com/bZQILEwMQ2
— FDA Drug Information (@FDA_Drug_Info) July 27, 2020
What should you do when you ingested or inhaled these hand sanitizers?
If you are experiencing the symptoms listed above, seek immediate medical attention.
The agency also reminded everyone about the importance of washing hands and don’t forget that it should take at least 20 seconds.
Safe hand sanitizers
Always check if it has at least 60 percent ethanol (ethyl alcohol). Also, remember that the toxic chemical is not listed on the label of some brands. So if the brand isn’t familiar, might as well, avoid purchasing it.
According to Healthline, the director of dermatologic surgery at Metropolitan Hospital in New York City, who is Dr. Dendy Engelman, said that you should “go to the brands you trust and rely on, like Touchland, Purell, etc.,” You’ll not find the brands that she mentioned from the FDA’s list.
Another thing that you should remember is never to make your own sanitizers.
According to the FDA, they do not recommend that because if it’s created wrongly, it will not be effective. They also added that there are some reports of skin burns from making DIY hand sanitizers. In short, it’s unsafe.
We all want to be safe during these trying times. For you to do that, make your self updated at all times by looking for reliable sources. As much as possible, stay at home and wash your hands frequently.
Check out FDA’s full list here.
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