The Hand Sanitizer Recall—Here’s What You Need to Know

Over 60 brands are being recalled.

By: Amanda Mushro
Close-up woman hand applying Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizes.


Close-up woman hand applying Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizes.

Photo by: Kmatta


For months, we’ve all been using hand sanitizer to combat coronavirus but, the Food and Drug Administration recently issued a warning saying that some brands contain chemicals that could poison you.

When hand sanitizers were flying off the shelves, consumers were simply looking for products with 60 percent ethanol alcohol. However, the FDA reported a spike in brands using methanol, which is used to create fuel and antifreeze, and can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested.

“FDA is warning consumers and healthcare providers that the agency has seen a sharp increase in hand-sanitizer products that are labeled to contain ethanol… but that have tested positive for methanol contamination,” the agency wrote.

According to the FDA, the brands in question have all been produced in Mexico and the agency has been updating their site with a list of over 60 brands that used methanol. The FDA will continue making updates, so it’s important that the public check on which brands are added, so they may discontinue their use.

“Unfortunately, there are some companies taking advantage of the increased usage of hand sanitizer during the coronavirus pandemic and putting lives at risk by selling products with dangerous and unacceptable ingredients,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn.

What happens if you continue to use hand sanitizer with methanol? “Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death,” the FDA reports.

Be sure to check your hand sanitizer labels and, if you have any of the listed products or see methanol as an ingredient, the FDA advises that you immediately dispose of the product. While stores that sell hand sanitizer should be removing these brands from their shelves, it’s important to check any labels before purchasing. The FDA also recommends that you use hazardous waste containers and avoid flushing or pouring the hand sanitizers down the drain.

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