As recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, washing your hands with soap and water is essential to fight off COVID-19 and maintain personal hygiene. If you are unable to access water and soap, hand sanitizer is an appropriate alternative to help you avoid spreading germs and getting sick.
After the FDA discovered nine brands of hand sanitizer that contained methanol, or wood alcohol — a substance that can be toxic when ingested or absorbed through the skin — the agency issued its first warning. Consequently, an investigation sought out various hand sanitizers on the market revealing serious safety concerns. As a result, multiple hand sanitizers were recalled and consumer warnings were released encouraging consumers to refrain from the use of more than 150 sanitizers.
What to Do
It is up to you to understand the warning signs attributed with certain hand sanitizers. To ensure the safety and health of everyone, the FDA is directing consumers to check the sanitizer label before purchasing. Keep an eye out for the following:
- The sanitizer was tested by the FDA
- The sanitizer has been found to contain ethanol or 1-propanol — both toxic substances
- The sanitizer contains methanol
- The sanitizer has been tested for and confirmed to have microbial contamination
- The sanitizer is being actively recalled by the manufacturer or distributor
- The sanitizer contains less than the required amount of ethyl or isopropyl alcohol, or benzalkonium chloride to be considered effective
- The sanitizer is made at the same facility as products that have been tested and deemed unsafe by the FDA
The FDA has provided an interactive “do-not-use-list” that consumers can quickly access to identify safe hand sanitizers. Instructions for using the tool are available here. If the sanitizer does not meet FDA requirements, it is recommending individuals to stop use immediately and dispose of it in a hazardous waste container.
For more information, click here.
Stay Safe. Stay Healthy.