The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has added more than a dozen brands of hand sanitizers to its growing list of dangerous products, most of which had already been recalled by their respective manufacturers. As of Tuesday this week, the FDA now has a total of 87 hand sanitizers on its list.
The FDA stated that the hand sanitizers on its list have all tested positive for dangerous chemicals, including Methanol. The substance, which is typically used in fuels and in antifreeze products, has been proven to be poisonous if absorbed through the skin in large amounts. If ingested, the substance could also prove to be lethal if the victim is not able to immediately seek medical attention.
According to the agency's latest update, majority of the products on its list appear to have been manufactured in Mexico. The FDA has advised all consumers to avoid using or buying the hand sanitizer products on its list. This includes all other personal sanitizing products from listed manufacturers, even those that are not specifically mentioned.
To avoid any untoward incidents, the FDA stated that it is working closely with affected manufacturers for the quick recall of specific products. The agency is also contacting all affected distributors and retailers so that they can immediately halt the distribution and selling of the products on its list.
FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in a statement that the agency has serious concerns about the continued proliferation of these dangerous products as it does pose a serious threat to the public. Companies that continue to produce, sell and distribute these products will be dealt with accordingly.
The official warned that manufacturers that fail to heed its warnings will be facing serious repercussions for their inaction. He added that there has already been one death that has been associated with methanol poisoning. The victim reportedly used a sanitizer brand called Blumen Hand Sanitizer, which had been distributed by 4E North America and manufactured by 4E Global in Mexico.
The agency also recently sent a warning letter to a company called Eskbiochem S.A. de C.V., which it accused of misleading customers for incorrectly claiming that its products were FDA approved. The company's products were also found to contain methanol, a fact that it failed to disclose on its labels.
The FDA is still running tests on dozens of other hand sanitizers to determine their methanol content. The agency stated that methanol is generally not an acceptable ingredient in medications, including hand sanitizers. Too much exposure to the substance, even through skin exposure, can cause symptoms such as blurred vision, vomiting, nausea, and headaches. In more serious cases, exposure can cause seizures, permanent blindness, and even death.