FDA warns of deadly hand sanitizer products with expanded list

US Food and Drug Administration tells consumers to stay away from products that contain methanol, a dangerous chemical that is in many products from Mexico

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The increased demand for hand sanitizer due to the coronavirus pandemic fears has caused shortages throughout the nation. This has prompted the US Food and Drug Administration to warn of potentially deadly products. 

The FDA is urging consumers not to use hand sanitizer products that contain methanol or that are under recall.

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Methanol is a chemical that has been found in numerous products manufactured in Mexico. 

Symptoms of methanol poisoning may include a decreased level of consciousness, poor or no coordination, vomiting, abdominal pain, and a specific smell on the breath. Decreased vision may start as early as twelve hours after exposure.

Long-term outcomes may include blindness and kidney failure.

In a statement printed by CNN, Dr. Stephen Hahn, Commissioner of the FDA wrote: “Consumers must also be vigilant about which hand sanitizers they use, and for their health and safety we urge consumers to immediately stop using all hand sanitizers on the FDA’s list of dangerous hand sanitizer products.”

The risk of using the products on hands is a bit lower than ingesting it. Earlier this month, four people in New Mexico died after drinking hand sanitizer products. 

“We remain extremely concerned about the potential serious risks of alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing methanol. Producing, importing, and distributing toxic hand sanitizers poses a serious threat to the public and will not be tolerated,” Hahn wrote,  “The FDA will take additional action as necessary and will continue to provide the latest information on this issue for the health and safety of consumers.”

READ MORE: Brothers looking to profit off coronavirus now stuck with 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer

If a consumer is concerned about whether a hand sanitizer product contains methanol, the FDA encourages checking the recall list and not using any products by those manufacturers. 

“Practicing good hand hygiene, which includes using alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available, is an important public health tool for all Americans to employ,” the agency noted, while encouraging American consumers to “remain vigilant.” 

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