These 9 Hand Sanitizers Might Be Toxic, According to the FDA

Nicola Dall'Asen

Even as states reopen and life starts to feel a little more normal, it's still paramount that you always wear a face mask in public and carry hand sanitizer on you. But according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are some hand sanitizers out there that can cause you more harm than good. In a report published on June 19, the FDA advises against hand sanitizers manufactured by the Mexico-based Eskbiochem SA de CV due to their potentially toxic properties.

As the report states, the hand sanitizers in question might contain methanol, a wood-based alcohol that can be toxic when ingested or absorbed through the skin. Some of the Eskbiochem-produced hand sanitizers recently tested by the FDA contain as much as 80 percent methanol — a potentially dangerous concentration, considering its effects. 

When absorbed through the skin, methanol can have severe effects, as cosmetic chemist Ginger King explains. "It can cause blindness when ingested and [can be] potentially lethal when applied topically over time on skin."

The FDA warns that anyone who's come into contact with methanol should seek treatment immediately to ensure the reversal of certain side effects, which, after substantial exposure, can include "nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, and permanent damage to the nervous system or death."

In addition, your skin can become inflamed. "Methanol strips the skin of natural lipids, oils, and proteins disrupting the protective skin barrier," says board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara. "Not to mention the homicide on our microbiome."

The FDA contacted Eskbiochem to "recommend that [it] remove its hand sanitizer products from the market" and states that the manufacturer has not yet taken any action to do so. In the meantime, the FDA recommends that you immediately dispose of any hand sanitizers produced by Eskbiochem (do not pour them down the drain or flush them in the toilet). 

Here are the names of nine Eskbiochem hand sanitizers (and their NDC codes, which the FDA uses to identify every product, their labelers, and their trade sizes) that the FDA advises you stop using:

  • All-Clean Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-002-01)

  • Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-007-01)

  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-008-04)

  • Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-006-01)

  • The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-010-10)

  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-005-03)

  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-009-01)

  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-003-01)

  • Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-001-01)

Thankfully, the FDA has yet to receive any reports of adverse effects caused by these hand sanitizers. Nevertheless, if you've used one recently, contact your doctor ASAP. And keep in mind that frequent handwashing is still an absolute must for preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

"FDA reminds consumers to wash their hands often 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," the FDA says. "If soap and water are not readily available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend consumers use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol."

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Originally Appeared on Allure

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