FDA Warns Against Hand Sanitizers Containing Methanol

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Post authored by Nancy Oliver, Extension Master Food Volunteer in Alamance County

On June 19, 2020, the Federal Drug Administration advised consumers not to use any hand sanitizers manufactured by Eskbiochem SA de CV, based in Mexico, because they contain wood alcohol (methanol). This substance can be toxic when it’s absorbed through the skin or ingested.

The American Chemistry Council defines methanol as a non-drinking type of alcohol (also known as wood alcohol and methyl alcohol). It is mostly used to create fuel, solvents, and antifreeze. It is a colorless liquid, volatile, flammable, and – unlike ethanol – is poisonous for any type of human consumption.

As of June 26, the FDA also reports that the company has not issued a recall yet of any of these products, so they still might be on some store shelves.

  • 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)

Samples of Lavar Gel tested by the FDA, for example, were found to have 81 percent (v/v) methanol and no ethyl alcohol.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is 60 percent ethanol or 70 percent isopropanol. This percentage has been laboratory proven to inactivate viruses that are genetically related to, and with similar physical properties to, COVID-19, according to The United States Pharmacopeial Convention.

If you find that you’ve purchased one of these hand sanitizers, the FDA recommends disposing of the products in hazardous material containers. They should not be poured down a drain or flushed down a toilet.