Do Not Use These Liquid Hand Sanitizer Products, According to the Food and Drug Administration of the United States

As a result of the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic, the general use of liquid hand sanitizer has significantly increased in the United States — which includes the recent relaxation of the rules by Transportation Security Administration pertaining to liquid hand sanitizer, as passengers are now permitted to carry containers of up to a maximum of 12 ounces of liquid hand sanitizer through airport security checkpoints

Do Not Use These Liquid Hand Sanitizer Products, According to the Food and Drug Administration of the United States

…but the Food and Drug Administration of the United States has posted this official advisory to not use certain hand sanitizer products because they may potentially contain methanol — which is also known as wood alcohol or methyl alcohol — and it is not an acceptable ingredient for liquid hand sanitizers, as it is a substance that can cause toxic effects when absorbed through the skin or ingested.

Substantial exposure to methanol can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system — or even death…

…and although all persons using these products on their hands are at risk at some level, the people who are most at risk for experiencing methanol poisoning include young children who accidentally ingest these products — as well as anyone of any age who drinks these products as a substitute for ethanol alcohol, which is also known as ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol.

If you have been exposed to liquid hand sanitizer which contains methanol, seek treatment immediately, as doing so as soon as possible is critical for the potential reversal of the toxic effects of methanol poisoning successfully.

The nine products which are named in the official advisory are all manufactured by Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico — and they include:

  • 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)
liquid hand sanitizer

This bottle of liquid hand sanitizer contains ethyl alcohol and not methanol, which means that it is acceptable for use. Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

“FDA tested samples of Lavar Gel and CleanCare No Germ. Lavar Gel contains 81 percent (v/v) methanol and no ethyl alcohol, and CleanCare No Germ contains 28 percent (v/v) methanol”, according to the aforementioned official advisory. “On June 17, 2020, FDA contacted Eskbiochem to recommend the company remove its hand sanitizer products from the market due to the risks associated with methanol poisoning. To date, the company has not taken action to remove these potentially dangerous products from the market. Therefore, FDA recommends consumers stop using these hand sanitizers and dispose of them immediately in appropriate hazardous waste containers. Do not flush or pour these products down the drain.”

Summary

Please remember that using liquid hand sanitizer is not as effective at warding off germs and viruses as properly and thoroughly washing your hands on a regular basis. I rarely ever use liquid hand sanitizer — perhaps once every three weeks or so on average at most — and I have not been sick as a result of a viral infection in years…

…not even the common cold.

For those rare times in which I do use liquid hand sanitizer when soap and water are not readily available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that consumers use a liquid hand sanitizer which contains at least 60 percent ethanol alcohol.

In the meantime, the Food and Drug Administration of the United States remains vigilant and will continue to take action when quality issues arise with liquid hand sanitizers. Additionally, the agency is concerned with false and misleading claims for liquid hand sanitizers — such as that they can provide prolonged protection for as many as 24 hours against viruses which include the 2019 Novel Coronavirus as one of countless examples, as no evidence exists to support these unfounded claims.

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

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