Regulator updates list of unsafe sanitisers, warns consumers to avoid products

*Methanol completely unacceptable as an ingredient in hand sanitisers, warns FDA

*Affected products still available on shelves, Amazon, others ─Report

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The United States (US) Food and Drug Administration (FDA), again, has issued a fresh warning in regard to the potentially toxic hand sanitisers in circulation.

Report says that the latest warning specifically targets hand sanitiser products containing methanol (a.k.a wood alcohol and ethyl alcohol).

Methanol may be great as a gasoline additive or to produce antifreeze, but it’s completely unacceptable in the FDA’s eyes as an ingredient in hand sanitisers, reports ConsumerAffairs.

The American Food and Drug Administration stressed whether it is absorbed through the skin or ingested, a variety of adverse events have been reported in both adults and children who were exposed to the substance.

These include blindness, seizures, comas, and even death, according to report.

New additions to the list include sanitisers that are all based in Mexico.

They include Bersih Hand Sanitizer Gel, Mystic Shield Protection hand sanitiser, and Britz Hand Sanitiser, according to FDA.

The regulatory agency disclosed that it has also witnessed an increase in hand sanitiser products that are labelled to contain ethanol (a.k.a ethyl alcohol), but which also test positive for methanol contamination.

It is recalled that the FDA has continued to warn consumers to stay away from these products.

In June, the regulator began its anti-methanol campaign when it warned consumers about products manufactured by Eskbiochem, which contained methanol.

As a result, several of Eskbiochem’s distributors have done voluntary recalls of the affected products.

The agency continues to update a list of products consumers should avoid, and it is working with manufacturers and distributors of these toxic products to recall them.

While urging consumers to remaining vigilant, the FDA warns consumers that there are no hand sanitiser products that are “FDA-approved,” and it also warns that any hand sanitiser that claims it can provide prolonged protection (i.e., “up to 24 hours”) should also be avoided.

The agency urges consumers to be aware that not all of these products have been taken off the shelves of retailers or online stores.

A number of hand sanitiser products that contained methanol or ethyl alcohol have been found on Amazon, stated the report.

Consumers would be smart to include both of those ingredients in any search they do for hand sanitiser products and to take a careful look at the “important information” at the bottom of each product’s listing.

FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. said of the development: “Unfortunately, there are some companies taking advantage of the increased usage of hand sanitiser during the Coronavirus pandemic and putting lives at risk by selling products with dangerous and unacceptable ingredients.

“Consumers and health care providers should not use methanol-containing hand sanitisers.

“The FDA remains committed to working with manufacturers, compounders, state boards of pharmacy and the public to increase the safe supply of alcohol-based hand sanitisers.

“This includes staying vigilant and continuing to take action when quality issues with hand sanitisers arise.”

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