The FDA is warning consumers against hand sanitizer products that it says are harmful if absorbed through the skin or ingested.
The FDA on Monday updated its list of hand sanitizers that consumers should not purchase. These products have tested positive for containing methanol. While hand sanitizers often contain ethanol to help kill germs, methanol can cause serious health problems, according to the FDA.
Absorbing methanol through the skin can be toxic, but ingesting it can be life-threatening, according to the FDA. The agency reports cases of blindness, hospitalizations and death when adults and children have ingested the substance.
Other symptoms of methanol exposure can include nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma and permanent damage to the nervous system.
The list of flagged hand sanitizers was up to 87 products as of Tuesday. You can find the list here.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, hand sanitizer sales in the U.S. have soared.
According to CNBC, hand sanitizer sales back in February were up 73 percent in the U.S.
The FDA recommends washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when possible. If that option isn’t available, hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent ethanol should be used instead.
“Unfortunately, there are some companies taking advantage of the increased usage of hand sanitizer 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 sanitizers,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn in a statement.