The coronavirus pandemic has driven up hand sanitizer sales by a wide margin. American hand sanitizer sales grew by almost 800% in the early months of the outbreak.
Unfortunately, faulty hygiene products have also made it to consumers’ homes, increasing chances of poisoning. In recent times the FDA has seen an increase in hand sanitizers that are supposed to contain ethanol (ethyl alcohol) but are contaminated with methanol (also known as wood alcohol).
This has created additional health challenges in a world already ravaged by coronavirus. People look to hygiene products like hand sanitizers as a mode to protect themselves and their families. Methanol contamination of such products may lead to adverse health effects and can even cause death.
Recently, the M Hand Sanitizer by Medek was recalled for methanol contamination.
Hand Sanitizer Recalls
All lots of the M Hand Sanitizer by Medek are being recalled after an FDA analysis found it to be contaminated with methanol and also have lower than necessary levels of ethanol.
The agency has warned people to not use hand sanitizer containing methanol as it may lead to terrible side effects like:
The FDA is aware of several cases in which people have suffered due to accidentally ingesting hand sanitizer products with methanol in them.
The FDA also maintains a list of hand sanitizers that have been recalled after they were found to contain methanol. This list is continuously updated on its website as the FDA continues to test both new products and those already on pharmacy shelves.
Products by these manufacturers are among those included on the list:
- 4E Global
- AAA Cosmetica
- Botanicals Internacional
- DDI Multinacional
- Genesis Partnership Company
- Healthy Foods & Nutrition Lab
- Leiper’s Fork Distillery
- Open Book Extracts
- Spartan Chemical Co Inc
- Volu-Sol Inc.
- Yangzhou Olande Cosmetic Co. Ltd
Refer to the list for a more expansive list of manufacturers and distributors to avoid.
Methanol Is Toxic
Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol or wood alcohol, is a volatile, flammable liquid used in solvents and fuels. Unlike ethanol, which is found in the alcoholic beverages we consume, methanol is very poisonous if consumed by people.
It’s not expected to be used in hand sanitizers, but poor manufacturing conditions might result in methanol contamination. When these hand sanitizers are used by individuals, the methanol might remain on their hands as a residue, and later enter their systems when they eat.
Exposure to methanol can have the following effects on the human body:
- Blurred vision
- Permanent blindness
- Permanent nervous system damage
Any individual using a hand sanitizer with methanol is at great risk. However, young children who may accidentally eat these products, and young adults who may drink these products as a substitute for ethanol-containing alcohol are at the highest risk for methanol poisoning.
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The FDA requests consumers to refer to the list on its website to ascertain which hand sanitizers are safe for use.
For protecting against the coronavirus, and in the interests of general hygiene, the FDA recommends that consumers wash their hands frequently, with soap and water, for a minimum of 20 seconds. This is especially after using the bathroom, before eating, or after coughing or sneezing.
If soap and water aren’t available, then consumers may use a hand sanitizer which contains at least 60% of ethanol. No product with methanol should be used.
What to Do if You are Harmed
If you’re injured due to any product, you should report it to the appropriate consumer complaint authority at the earliest, after receiving medical care.
In this case, if you suffer an adverse reaction due to any hand sanitizer that contains methanol, you should report it to the FDA’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program.
If you’re in need of legal guidance, you may contact one of our product lability lawyers. Pintas & Mullins has a network of skilled personal injury lawyers nationwide, who have dealt with cases involving a range of recalled products and related injuries. Reach out to us today for a free consultation to help with your case. We only receive payment if you receive a settlement or compensation.