FDA expands list of potentially dangerous hand sanitizers

The hand sanitizers are potentially toxic because of methanol.

July 23, 2020, 5:00 PM

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded its list of hand sanitizers to avoid because of potential hand dangers.

The agency recently added dozens of products to the list over concerns about methanol contamination.

"That should never be in a hand sanitizer," ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton said of methanol. "Its absorption can produce toxic, and in some cases, deadly results."

The FDA now lists 75 different brands of hand sanitizer to avoid, many of them under the brand Blumen, some of which was sold at the large retailer BJ's. In some cases, the brand has already been recalled.

VIDEO: FDA expands list of toxic hand sanitizers
VIDEO: FDA expands list of toxic hand sanitizers

The sanitizers listed by the FDA have been tested to contain methanol or have been made in facilities where other products have been contaminated.

Methanol, a colorless liquid, can be absorbed into the body through inhalation, ingestion, skin contact, or eye contact, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Over the past two months in Arizona, four people died and 26 were injured in cases believed to be related to hand sanitizers that contain methanol, according to the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center.

WATCH: How we used to wash our hands vs. how we wash them now

We used black paint to show the difference between proper and improper techniques.
We used black paint to show the difference between proper and improper techniques.

Initial symptoms of methanol poisoning can include headache, nausea and dizziness in the hours immediately after the exposure. More serious symptoms that can develop include blindness and, in some cases, death, according to Ashton.

The FDA recommends people turn to hand washing first and only use hand sanitizers if soap and water are not available.

If hand sanitizers are used, the CDC recommends consumers use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% ethanol (also referred to as ethyl alcohol).

Consumers should also be wary of hand sanitizers marked as FDA-approved because the FDA does not approve hand sanitizers, according to the agency.

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