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On July 2, 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released an update to its original mid-June consumer warning of methanol contamination in hand sanitizers. In the update, FDA added 4 additional products to its voluntary product recall list, which now totals 13 products.
Exposure to methanol can result in the following adverse effects: nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system, or death. FDA’s investigation of methanol in certain hand sanitizers is ongoing. OSHA Review will continue to provide blog updates as it becomes available from FDA.
Since the pandemic began, the demand for hand sanitizers has skyrocketed. To ensure that hand sanitizers are used safely and effectively, at a minimum, consumers should use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% ethanol.
In addition to the FDA consumer update linked above, for more information on hand sanitizers adulterated with methanol, consumers can refer to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Official Health Advisory Serious Adverse Health Events Associated with Methanol-based Hand Sanitizers (July 5, 2020).
For more general information on the use of hand sanitizers during the COVID-19 pandemic, FDA created an online Q&A for Consumers: Hand Sanitizers and COVID-19 for consumers.