The FDA has advised consumers to not use hand sanitiser manufactured by Eskbiochem in Mexico due to the potential for methanol poisoning
The FDA has advised consumers to not use hand sanitiser manufactured by Eskbiochem in Mexico due to the potential presence of methanol. The wood alcohol can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested.
The FDA tested sampled of the company's Laval Gel and CleanCare No Germ. In testing these, the administration found 81% methanol in the Lavar Gel, and no ethyl alcohol, whereas CleanCare No Germ contained 28% methanol.
In total the FDA identified nine of Eskbiochem's products. The FDA stated: "Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitisers and should not be used due to its toxic effects."
On 17 June, the FDA contacted Eskbiochem to 'recommend the company remove its hand sanitise products from the market due to the risk associated with methanol poisoning'. However, the company has not taken action to remove the products. Therefore, the FDA has recommended consumers stop using these hand sanitisers and dispose of them immediately in appropriate hazardous waste containers. The administration also warns not to flush or pour these products down the drain.
This is not an isolated concern for the FDA, the agency is watching for products with false and misleading claims for hand sanitisers. These claims can be that they can provide prolonged protection such as 24-hours against viruses including COVID-19, since there is no evidence to support these claims. Products that falsely claim these properties can have deadly results.
Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitiser containing methanol should seek immediate treatment, which is critical for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning. 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, young children who accidentally ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk for methanol poisoning.
To date, FDA is not aware of any reports of adverse events associated with these hand sanitiser products and encourages anyone to report adverse events or quality problems experienced with the use of hand sanitisers to FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting programme.
The full list of Eskbiochem's products: