When COVID-19 arrived in the United States, we were told one of the ways to stay healthy was to wash our hands frequently, so we wouldn’t spread any coronacooties that might be on our hands. Washing them with soap and hot water for 20 seconds was preferable but if clean running water wasn’t available, washing your hands with hand sanitizer would do.
With that, the hand sanitizer market exploded and in March alone, sales grew 73%. Right up there with Clorox wipes, bleach and toilet paper, it was suddenly impossible to find hand sanitizer anywhere. Which was a shame because the TSA had even increased the amount of liquids you could have in your carry on luggage (well, if you could fly) because of how important hand sanitizer has become.
It’s been a few months now and although it’s still not always easy to find name brands such as Purell, Germ-X, etc., off brands can usually be found on the shelves.
Unfortunately, the FDA is discovering that some of those off brands are made with an improper ingredient that can be toxic when used as directed.
Hand sanitizers should be made with ethyl alcohol (the bottle should say it’s 60-95% in the entire formula) or isopropyl alcohol (79-91.3%). However during randomized tests, some of these off-brand hand sanitizers are being found to contain methanol (a.k.a. “wood alcohol”), which is a different type of alcohol than what’s usually found in hand sanitizers.
Methanol “is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizers, and must not be used due to its toxic effects,” as per the FDA. ““Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death. Although all persons using these products on their hands are at risk for methanol poisoning, young children who accidentally ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk.”
The FDA advises that anyone exposed to hand sanitizer that contains methanol should seek immediate medical attention.
The FDA has first recalled several hand sanitizers in early July, but has recently added many more to the list, for a current total of about 75 products. They suggest that if you have any of the listed products, you dispose of them properly.
Click here for the full list on the FDA’s website.
PC: Pexels/Anna Shbets
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands #wearamask
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary