With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, hand sanitizers have become a staple in our everyday lives. While it helps keep us safe, rushed and unscrupulous manufacturing has created a sharp increase in hazardous and contaminated hand sanitizers.
The US Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about the growing number of hand sanitizers that contain a dangerous type of alcohol. The culprit is methanol, a dangerous type of alcohol commonly used as an industrial solvent and pesticide. If used, it is not always listed as one of the ingredients in bottles of hand sanitizer.
There is a good reason why we spent so much time covering methanol and safe use in our guide to cleaning with denatured alcohol. It is highly toxic when ingested or absorbed through the skin, and can either easily lead to methanol poisoning.
The symptoms of methanol poisoning are extensive, but they all include the following:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Blurred vision
- Visual hallucinations
- Blood in the urine
- Kidney failure
Eyes and optic nerves are particularly exposed and exposure to methanol may even cause temporary or permanent blindness.
Young children are particularly vulnerable due to exploratory behaviors, such as putting their hands in their mouths after application or even drinking cleansers.
Although some brands list methanol as an ingredient, many do not, which is why the FDA has released a comprehensive list of hand sanitizers that people should avoid. The list is updated regularly and so far it contains over 130 brands and useful information about the contaminated products.
Definitely refer to the list next time you fill in hand sanitizer.