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By Miriam Raftery

View Spanish version of the FDA warning

June 28, 2020 (San Diego) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns consumers not to use any hand sanitizer made by Eskbiochem, a Mexican company, and sold under various brand names in the U.S. that are still on store shelves.

These sanitizers contain methanol, or wood alcohol, which when absorbed through skin or ingested can be toxic. Substantial exposure to methanol can cause permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death.

The hand sanitizers were sold under the brand-names All-Clean, Esk Biochem, CleanCare, Lavar, Saniderm, and The Good Gel. Some products tested had as much as 81% methanol.

"Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and should not be used due to its toxic effects,” the FDA warns.

If you have purchased these hand sanitizers, the agency recommends you stop using them immediately and dispose of the hand sanitizer in “appropriate hazardous waste containers.” Do not flush them down the toilet or pour them down the drain, the FDA advises.

"Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol should seek immediate treatment, which is critical for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning.” 

On June 17, the FDA requested that Eskbiochem voluntarily remove its hand sanitizer products from the market. So far, the company has not complied, which prompted the FDA to issue a consumer alert, AARP reports.

The Centers for Disease Control recommend hand sanitizers that contains at least 60 percent ethanol to kill most disease-causing germs. Anything less than that may not work as well “for many types of germs,” and could “merely reduce the growth of germs rather than kill them outright,” the CDC says.

Hand sanitizer works best when used correctly. Be sure to apply enough hand sanitizer to cover the entire surface of both hands. Rub the hand sanitizer into your hands and fingers for around 20 seconds.

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