The FDA is continuing to warn consumers about contaminated hand sanitizer.
Over 150 hand sanitizers are currently included on the FDA’s warning list. These products are contaminated with methanol or 1-propanol, both of which are toxic if ingested. Methanol can also be absorbed through broken skin on the hands.
Carol DesLauriers with the Illinois Poison Center said there’s a particular concern about young children ingesting these products, which often come in colorful containers or have added scents that smell appetizing.
“We do recommend that parents always supervise the use of hand sanitizer. Even the non-contaminated ones contain ethanol, over 60% ethanol and when you think that vodka is 50% ethanol, you don’t want kids drinking hand sanitizer of any time,” she said.
DesLauriers recommended parents keep hand sanitizer stored where children can’t get to it.
Teens and adults who may drink hand sanitizer as a substitute for alcohol are also at risk from the contaminated products.
A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that between May 1st and June 30th, 15 people were hospitalized in two states after ingesting hand sanitizer contaminated by methanol. Four of those people died.
The majority of contaminated hand sanitizer is being produced in Mexico. Hand sanitizer made by Harmonic Nature S de RL de MI and Eskbiochem are included. Federal regulations do not require distributers to list manufacturers on labels, so the best way to identify contaminated hand sanitizer is by checking the FDA list.
The FDA has urged manufacturers to voluntarily recall the products and has issued an import alert. A full list of affected products is available on the FDA’s website.
Anyone worried about possible ingestion of hand sanitizer can contact the Illinois Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.