The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded its list of hand sanitisers to avoid after identifying the dangerous substance methanol as an ingredient.
As of Friday, the FDA has identified 75 hand sanitisers that have tested positive for methanol, or wood alcohol, contamination.
According to the agency, methanol can be toxic when absorbed through the skin and can be life-threatening when ingested.
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“The agency is aware of adults and children ingesting hand sanitiser products contaminated with methanol that has led to recent adverse events including blindness, hospitalisations and death,” the FDA explained on its website, where it also describes which products it has recommended for recall and which products are already being recalled.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the agency said it has seen a “sharp rise in hand sanitiser products that are labelled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination.”
The FDA first identified nine potentially dangerous hand sanitiser products in June, with the list growing exponentially over the last month.
On Friday, the federal agency listed many of the hand sanitisers on an updated import list, with many of the products being produced in Mexico.
In addition to advising consumers not to use the products that tested positive for methanol, the health agency also recommends not using any hand sanitisers from the companies that make the products listed.
According to the FDA, it is also remaining “vigilant” regarding other hand sanitiser concerns that pose a risk, such as false advertising that lists a product as “FDA-approved” or “hand sanitisers that are sold or offered for sale with false and misleading, unproven claims that they can prevent the spread of viruses such as Covid-19, including claims that they can provide prolonged protection.”
The health agency reiterated its reminder for consumers to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds amid the coronavirus pandemic, per CDC guidelines, or to use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent ethanol when soap and water are not readily available.
You can find the full list of hand sanitisers to avoid here.