F.D.A. Issues Warning Against Potentially Toxic Hand Sanitizers

F.D.A. Issues Warning Against Potentially Toxic Hand Sanitizers

The FDA specifically noted 9 different products manufactured by Mexico-based company Eskbiochem SA de CV. 

Image Source: Getty Images/Jena Ardell (Representative)

When the coronavirus pandemic began, people rushed in droves to buy items like hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, sprays, and liquids. People were desperate and purchased whatever was available—if anything was available. At that point, we simply focused on checking whether the product contained ingredients that were capable of destroying the virus. But now, we have to be more careful about these ingredients and see if they are actually harming us in the process. On Friday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory, warning consumer to avoid using hand sanitizing products that contain methanol as its toxicity could leave us with severe and permanent side effects. 



The FDA specifically noted 9 different products manufactured by Mexico-based company Eskbiochem SA de CV.  Due to "the potential presence of methanol (wood alcohol), a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested" they urged customers to stop using the products. Here's the list:

All-Clean Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-002-01)

Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-007-01)

CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-008-04)

Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-006-01)

The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-010-10)

CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-005-03)

CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-009-01)

CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-003-01)

Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-001-01)



The F.D.A. claimed that they had requested Eskbiochem to remove said products in their market. However, "the company has not taken action to remove these potentially dangerous products," they explained in its release on Friday. Explaining the potential the product poses, the Administration continued, "Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death."



They added that "methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and should not be used due to its toxic effects" and that "Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol should seek immediate treatment, which is critical for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning." Furthermore, they explained that everyone using these products on their hands are at risk but specified that "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." Thus, they recommended "consumers stop using these hand sanitizers and dispose of them immediately in appropriate hazardous waste containers. Do not flush or pour these products down the drain."



But when a representative of the company, Alexander Escamillo, was asked, he explained that the manufacturer only learned about the warning on Monday, reports the New York Times. He explained that another person who had "had access to our company" had registered with the F.D.A. "He registered our labels and shipped sanitizers," explained Escamillo. "We did not register ourselves." Although he didn't identify this person, Escamillo did say that the company couldn't even log into its F.D.A. profile "because we don’t know how to." 



Escamillo explained, "We would never do that, send a toxic chemical maliciously," adding that the company will be taking action against the person whom he identified as a broker. Regardless of this defense, it's important to steer clear of Eskbiochem products, per the F.D.A. Customers were reminded to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, "especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose." On the off chance that soap and water are not available, the F.D.A. urged people to purchase an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% ethanol, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C). 

Disclaimer: Information about the pandemic is swiftly changing, and McGill Media is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication. Therefore, we encourage you to also regularly check online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization.

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