Eek—These Hand Sanitizer Brands May Be Seriously Toxic

Elizabeth Denton
Eek—These Hand Sanitizer Brands May Be Seriously Toxic
Photo: Shutterstock.

While we’re all washing our hands as often as possible to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, it’s not always possible to get to a sink. That’s what makes hand sanitizer helpful in a pinch. But according to a new report from the FDA, there are some hand sanitizers on the market that are toxic and should not be used. These include any manufactured by Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico. Don’t worry—there are only a few brands.

Check your pile of hand sanitizers at home and make sure none include methanol (wood alcohol), “a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested,” according to the FDA. The list of hand sanitizers below should never be used, but methanol shouldn’t be an ingredient in any—ever. Methanol exposure has serious side effects, including “nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death,” per the FDA.

According to the report, the FDA has asked Eskbiochem to remove the products from the market but so far, the brand has yet to do so. That’s why the FDA is issuing this report. If you have any of these at home, dispose of them in a toxic waste container—not down the drain.

  • 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)

To help reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, the FDA recommends washing your hands for at least 20 seconds or, when not possible, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent ethanol. Beware of “natural” alcohol-free versions as those won’t be effective. Read the report for more information. And wear your mask!

[Update July 30, 2020] The FDA has added to this list. In a memo, it reveled its seen more hand sanitizers containing methanol, or wood alcohol. It is “toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and can be life-threatening when ingested,” the report reads. Methanol has led to blindness and even death. The FDA is urging consumers to ensure their products don’t contain methanol or are “made at the same facility as products that have been tested by FDA and found to contain methanol.” You can find that list of factories online.

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