FDA Warns Against 149 Potentially Toxic Hand Sanitizers

The list of problematic hand sanitizer brands increased sharply from nine on June 19 to 149 on August 13.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has dramatically increased the number of potentially toxic hand sanitizers consumers need to avoid.

The agency first took action on June 19, 2020, when it advised consumers to avoid nine products manufactured by Mexico-based Eskbiochem SA de CV due to risk of methanol contamination. Further warnings followed on June 29 about another product by that manufacturer, hand sanitizer packaged in one-liter bottles from Saniderm Products for the same reason.

That was just the beginning. In less than two weeks the list of problematic products increased more than sixfold, to 59 by July 2. On August 13, the number had climbed to 149.

The active ingredient in safe and effective hand sanitizer is ethanol (i.e., ethyl alcohol), not methanol (i.e., ‘wood alcohol’), which can be toxic to humans if absorbed through the skin or ingested. The FDA says it has seen a sharp increase in hand sanitizer products labeled to contain ethanol but testing positive for methanol contamination.

The FDA also warns consumers that substantial exposure to methanol can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death.

close up of hand sanitizer bottlePhotoAlto/Michele Constantini/Getty Images

The full list of potentially harmful hand sanitizers

At the time of publication, the list of hand sanitizer brands to avoid include:

  1. Blumen Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer with 70% Alcohol
  2. Blumen Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear Ethyl Alcohol 70%
  3. BLUMEN Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear
  4. BLUMEN Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear
  5. KLAR AND DANVER Instant Hand Sanitizer
  6. MODESA Instant Hand Sanitizer Moisturizers and Vitamin E
  7. BLUMEN Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  8. BLUMEN Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  9. BLUMEN Advanced Hand Sanitizer Aloe
  10. BLUMEN Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Lavender
  11. BLUMEN Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  12. BLUMEN Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  13. BLUMEN Clear LEAR Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  14. BLUMEN Clear LEAR Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  15. The Honeykeeper Hand Sanitizer
  16. BLUMEN Advanced Hand Sanitizer Clear
  17. BLUMEN Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer
  18. BLUMEN Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe
  19. BLUMEN Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Lavender
  20. BLUMEN Aloe Advanced Hand Sanitizer, with 70 Alcohol
  21. BLUMEN Aloe Advanced Hand Sanitizer, with 70 Alcohol
  22. Blumen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Lavender, with 70% alcohol
  23. Blumen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Aloe, with 70% alcohol
  24. Blumen Antibacterial Fresh Citrus Hand Sanitizer
  25. Blumen Hand Sanitizer Fresh Citrus
  26. KLAR and DANVER Instant Hand Sanitizer
  27. Hello Kitty Hand Sanitizer
  28. Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer (Vitamin E and Aloe)
  29. Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer (Aloe and Moisturizers)
  30. Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer Vitamin E and Aloe
  31. Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe and Moisturizers
  32. BLUMEN Instant Hand Sanitizer Fragrance Free
  33. BLUMEN Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe Vera
  34. Assured Aloe
  35. bio aaa Advance Hand Sanitizer
  36. LumiSkin Advance Hand Sanitizer
  37. LumiSkin Advance Hand Sanitizer
  38. QualitaMed Hand Sanitizer
  39. NEXT Hand Sanitizer
  40. NuuxSan Instant Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer
  41. NuuxSan Instant Hand Sanitizer
  42. Assured Instant Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer with Aloe and Moisturizers
  43. Assured Instant Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer with Vitamin E and Aloe
  44. Modesa Instant Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer with Moisturizers and Aloe Vera
  45. Modesa Instant Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer with Moisturizers and Vitamin E
  46. V-KLEAN Hand Sanitizer Gel
  47. V-KLEAN Hand Sanitizer Gel
  48. V-KLEAN Hand Sanitizer Gel
  49. V-KLEAN Hand Sanitizer Gel
  50. Derma70 Hand Sanitizer
  51. V-KLEAN
  52. Medically Minded Hand Sanitizer Gel
  53. Protz Real Protection Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer
  54. Alcohol Antiseptic 80% topical solution hand sanitizer
  55. Inatek Hand Sanitizer Non-Sterile Solution 70% of Alcohol
  56. All Clear Hand Sanitizer Fragrance Free
  57. Total Pure Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizer Gel
  58. 70% Alcohol Gel Hand Sanitizer
  59. ResQue 1st Instant Hand Sanitizer
  60. 70% Alcohol Gel Hand Sanitizer
  61. 70% Alcohol Gel Hand Sanitizer
  62. Herbacil Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer 70% Alcohol
  63. Herbacil Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer 70% Alcohol
  64. Herbacil Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer 70% Alcohol
  65. Earths Amenities Instant Unscented Hand Sanitizer with Aloe Vera Advanced
  66. Hand Sanitizer Agavespa Skincare
  67. Vidanos Easy Cleaning Rentals Hand Sanitizer Agavespa Skincare
  68. dgreen Advanced Sanitizer Alcohol Free
  69. dgreen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Antibacterial Gel
  70. Hand Sanitizer
  71. Hand Sanitizer Gel
  72. Clean Humans Hand Sanitizer
  73. CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol
  74. Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer
  75. All-Clean Hand Sanitizer
  76. Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer
  77. The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer
  78. CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
  79. CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
  80. Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  81. OZO Hand Sanitizer, Luxury Formula
  82. Hand sanitizer Gel Unscented 70% Alcohol
  83. Hand sanitizer Gel Unscented 70% Alcohol
  84. M Hand Sanitizer Alcohol Antiseptic topical solution 80% Topical Solution Hand Sanitizer
  85. Jalisco Paper Inc Restaurant Supplies Hand Sanitizer
  86. O.K. Pharmacy Hand Sanitizer
  87. Hand Sanitizer Alcohol Antiseptic topical solution 80%
  88. Alcohol Antiseptic 75% Topical Solution Hand Sanitizer
  89. HF&N Lab Medi Care Alcohol Antiseptic Topical Solution
  90. GelBac T Hand Sanitizer
  91. Hand Sanitizer (Incredible Products SA de CV)
  92. TriCleanz (Labeled with “Made in Mexico”)
  93. OZO Hand Sanitizer
  94. Sayab Antisepctic Hand Sanitizer 100
  95. Jaloma Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer Ethyl Alcohol 62% with Vitamin E
  96. Leiper’s Fork Distillery Bulk Disinfectant per 5 gallon and Leiper’s Fork Distillery 16 oz bottle
  97. Andy’s Best
  98. Andy’s
  99. NeoNatural
  100. Plus Advanced
  101. Optimus Instant Hand Sanitizer
  102. Optimus Lubricants Instant Hand Sanitizer
  103. Optimus Instant Hand Sanitizer
  104. Selecto Hand Sanitizer
  105. Shine and Clean Hand Sanitizer
  106. Hand Sanitizer Disinfectant Gel 70% Ethyl Alcohol
  107. Hand Sanitizer Disinfectant Gel 70% Ethyl Alcohol Rinse Free Hand Rub
  108. Mystic Shield Protection hand sanitizer
  109. Greenfrog Hand Sanitizer
  110. Greenfrog Hand Sanitizing wipes
  111. Medical Mary Clean Hand Sanitizer
  112. AMX Instant Hand Sanitizer
  113. Always Be Clean Hand Sanitizer
  114. Just Hand Sanitizer Single Use Packs
  115. BV BYE Virus 99
  116. In Good Hands Hand Sanitizer Gel
  117. CleanCare Nogerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  118. Datsen Hand Sanitizer
  119. Alcohol Antiseptic 62% Hand Sanitizer
  120. Bernal Hand Sanitizer
  121. Alcohol Antiseptic 65% Hand Sanitizer; Alcohol Antiseptic 70% Hand Sanitizer
  122. Born Basic. Anti-Bac Hand Sanitizer 70% alcohol
  123. Born Basic. Anti-Bac Hand Sanitizer 65% Alcohol
  124. Scent Theory – Keep It Clean – Pure Clean Anti-bacterial Hand Sanitizer
  125. Cavalry (labeled with “Product of Mexico”)
  126. ENLIVEN Hand Sanitizing Gel
  127. Lux Eoi Hand Sanitizing Gel
  128. Scent Theory – Keep It Clean – Pure Clean Anti-bacterial Hand Sanitizer
  129. Command Gel AntiBac Instant hand sanitizer
  130. UltraCruz Hand Sanitizing Gel Antimicrobial
  131. SkinGuard24 All-Day Hand Sanitizer
  132. Bersih Hand Sanitizer Gel Fragrance Free
  133. Bersih Antiseptic Alcohol 70% Topical Solution hand sanitizer
  134. Purity Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  135. Hand Sanitizer Gel Alcohol 70%
  136. Lite ’n Foamy Lemon Blossom Hand Sanitizer
  137. foamyiQ Lemon Blossom Hand Sanitizer
  138. TriCleanz Tritanium Labs Hand Sanitizer (Labeled with “Made in Mexico”)
  139. Britz Hand Sanitizer Ethyl Alcohol 70%
  140. Parabola Hand Sanitizer
  141. Urbane Bath and Body Hand Sanitizer
  142. Cleaner Hand Sanitizer Rinse Free 70%
  143. Handzer Hand Sanitizer Rinse Free
  144. Kleanz Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer Advanced
  145. Be Safe Hand Sanitizer
  146. Wave Hand Sanitizer Gel
  147. Volu-Sol Handrub Sanitizing Solution
  148. Leafree Instant Hand Sanitizer
  149. DAESI Hand Sanitizer

FDA guidelines for safe hand sanitizer use

The FDA “remains vigilant and will continue to take action when quality issues arise with hand sanitizers.” The agency urges consumers to follow these guidelines for safe use of hand sanitizer:

  • Never drink hand sanitizer under any conditions.
  • Avoid hand sanitizers that do not contain at least 60 percent ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol.
  • Avoid hand sanitizers that claim to prevent the spread of viruses such as Covid-19 and those that claim to provide prolonged protection (e.g., for up to 24-hours).
  • Avoid any hand sanitizer that are fraudulently marketed as “FDA-approved” (no hand sanitizers are approved by FDA).
  • Avoid products packaged to appear as drinks, candy, or liquor bottles, as well as products marketed as drinks or cocktails because their appearance could result in accidental ingestion or encourage ingestion.

How to handle hand sanitizer issues

Those who have been exposed to potentially toxic hand sanitizer and are experiencing symptoms should seek immediate treatment for methanol poisoning. The FDA also encourages health care professionals, consumers and patients to report adverse events or hand sanitizer quality issues to its MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.

Government health organizations remind consumers to frequently wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose.

Sources
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration: "Saniderm Products Voluntarily Issues Regional (Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey) Recall of 1 L Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer bottles produced by Eskbiochem SA de CV Due to the Potential Presence of Undeclared Methanol (Wood Alcohol)"
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration: "MedWatch: The FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program"
Originally Published on The Family Handyman