87 Hand Sanitizers Ruled Toxic by the FDA

July 29, 2020
Frank Diamond

There’s been a sharp increase in sanitizers that claim to use ethanol, but instead have methanol—or wood alcohol—in them, according to the FDA.

Hand sanitizers, almost right up there with masks as a must-have item during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), are suddenly not such a must-have item. At least many of them aren’t. The sanitizers have come under scrutiny by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and 87 of them have been declared toxic, by that federal agency. There’s been a sharp increase in sanitizers that claim to use ethanol, but instead have methanol—or wood alcohol—in them, the FDA said in a statement.

Methanol can be toxic when absorbed through the skin and can be life-threatening when swallowed, which can sometimes happen if little children get a hold of the dispensers.

“Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due to its toxic effects,” the FDA says. “FDA’s investigation of methanol in certain hand sanitizers is ongoing. The agency will provide additional information as it becomes available.”

Recent incidents of swallowing hand sanitizers by both adults and children have led to hospitalizations, blindness, and death. Some of the hand sanitizers on the list are sold nationwide at large retailers such as Target and Walmart.

“Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol and are experiencing symptoms should seek immediate treatment for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning,” the FDA states. “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 accidently ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk.”

The FDA’s watchdog stance when it comes to hand sanitizers became particularly important to public safety when the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidelines for hand hygiene in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC recommends using alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) “with 60-95% alcohol in healthcare settings. Unless hands are visibly soiled, an alcohol-based hand rub is preferred over soap and water in most clinical situations due to evidence of better compliance compared to soap and water. Hand rubs are generally less irritating to hands and are effective in the absence of a sink.”

The CDC also notes that the FDA “allows for ethanol or isopropyl to be used as the active ingredient in ABHR manufactured by entities that are not currently registered with the FDA to manufacture drugs.”

Here is a list of potentially toxic hand sanitizers, according to the FDA:

  • AAA Cosmetica's bio aaa Advance Hand Sanitizer
  • AAA Cosmetica's LumiSkin Advance Hand Sanitizer 4 oz
  • AAA Cosmetica's LumiSkin Advance Hand Sanitizer 16 oz
  • AAA Cosmetica's QualitaMed Hand Sanitizer
  • Broncolin's Herbacil Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer 70% Alcohol
  • DDI Multinacional's Earths Amenities Instant Unscented Hand Sanitizer with Aloe Vera Advanced
  • DDI Multinacional's Hand Sanitizer Agavespa Skincare
  • DDI Multinacional's Vidanos Easy Cleaning Rentals Hand Sanitizer Agavespa Skincare
  • Eskbiochem's All-Clean Hand Sanitizer
  • Eskbiochem's Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer
  • Eskbiochem's Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer
  • Eskbiochem's The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer
  • Eskbiochem's CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
  • Eskbiochem's CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol
  • Eskbiochem's CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
  • 4E Global's Blumen Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer with 70% Alcohol
  • 4E Global's Blumen Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear Ethyl Alcohol 70%
  • 4E Global's Blumen Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear
  • 4E Global's Klar and Danver Instant Hand Sanitizer (labeled with Greenbrier International Inc.)
  • 4E Global's Modesa Instant Hand Sanitizer Moisturizers and Vitamin E
  • 4E Global's Blumen Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  • 4E Global's Blumen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Aloe
  • 4E Global's Blumen Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Lavender
  • 4E Global's Blumen Clear Lear Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  • 4E Global's Blumen Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  • 4E Global's The Honeykeeper Hand Sanitizer
  • 4E Global's Blumen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Clear
  • 4E Global's Blumen Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer
  • 4E Global's Blumen Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe
  • 4E Global's Blumen Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Lavender
  • 4E Global's Blumen Aloe Advanced Hand Sanitizer, with 70% Alcohol
  • 4E Global's Blumen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Lavender, with 70% alcohol
  • 4E Global's Blumen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Aloe, with 70% alcohol
  • 4E Global's Blumen Antibacterial Fresh Citrus Hand Sanitizer
  • 4E Global's Blumen Hand Sanitizer Fresh Citrus
  • 4E Global's Klar and Danver Instant Hand Sanitizer
  • 4E Global's Hello Kitty by Sanrio Hand Sanitizer
  • 4E Global's Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer (Vitamin E and Aloe)
  • 4E Global's Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer (Aloe and Moisturizers)
  • 4E Global's Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer Vitamin E and Aloe
  • 4E Global's Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe and Moisturizers
  • 4E Global's Blumen Instant Hand Sanitizer Fragrance Free
  • 4E Global's Blumen Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe Vera
  • 4E Global's Assured Aloe
  • Eskbiochem's Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  • Grupo Insoma's Hand sanitizer Gel Unscented 70% Alcohol
  • ITECH 361's All Clean Hand Sanitizer, Moisturizer and Disinfectant
  • Jaloma Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer Ethyl Alcohol 62% with Vitamin E
  • Leiper's Fork Distillery Bulk Disinfectant per 5 gallon and Leiper's Fork Distillery 16 oz
  • Limpo Quimicos' Andy's Best
  • Limpo Quimicos' Andy's
  • Limpo Quimicos' Gelclor
  • Limpo Quimicos' NeoNatural
  • Limpo Quimicos' Plus Advanced
  • Liqesa Exportacion or Liq-E-S.A.'s Optimus Lubricants Instant Hand Sanitizer
  • Maquiladora Miniara's Shine and Clean Hand Sanitizer
  • Maquiladora Miniara's Selecto Hand Sanitizer
  • MXL Comercial's Hand Sanitizer Disinfectant Gel 70% Ethyl Alcohol (labeled with Resource Recovery & Trading LLC)
  • MXL Comercial's Hand Sanitizer Disinfectant Gel 70% Ethyl Alcohol Rinse Free Hand Rub (labeled with Resource Recovery & Trading LLC)
  • Mystic International's Mystic Shield Protection hand sanitizer
  • Real Clean Distribuciones's Born Basic Anti-Bac Hand Sanitizer
  • Real Clean Distribuciones's Anti-Bac Hand Sanitizer
  • Real Clean Distribuciones's Scent Theory – Keep It Clean – Pure Clean Anti-bacterial Hand Sanitizer
  • Real Clean Distribuciones's Cavalry
  • Real Clean Distribuciones's ENLIVEN Hand Sanitizing Gel
  • Real Clean Distribuciones's Lux Eoi Hand Sanitizing Gel
  • Real Clean Distribuciones's Keep It Clean
  • Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  • Real Clean Distribuciones's Hand Sanitizer
  • Soluciones Cosmeticas' Bersih Hand Sanitizer Gel Fragrance Free
  • Soluciones Cosmeticas' Antiseptic Alcohol 70% Topical Solution hand sanitizer
  • Soluciones Cosmeticas' Hand sanitizer (labeled with Wet Look Janitorial and Gardening Corp.)
  • Transliquid Technologies's Mystic Shield Protection hand sanitizer
  • Tropicosmeticos' Britz Hand Sanitizer Ethyl Alcohol 70%
  • Yara Elena De La Garza Perez Nieto's Daesi hand sanitizer