TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The government says certain hand sanitizer products have the potential to make you sick. The Food and Drug Administration says there are more than 1,500 additional manufacturers that registered with the agency to help maintain the high demand of hand sanitizers, but the FDA warns consumers about products that don’t fall in line with FDA guidelines.
Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration Stephen M. Hahn M.D. says in a news release, “with this increased supply comes our continued mission to ensure safety of these products. It is important that hand sanitizer be manufactured in a way that makes them unpalatable to people, especially young children, and that they are appropriately labeled to discourage accidental or intentional ingestion. Additionally, hand sanitizers are not proven to treat COVID-19, and like other products meant for external use, are not for ingestion, inhalation, or intravenous use.”
Dr. Ed Dominguez, the Medical Director for Transplant and Infectious Disease at Methodist Dallas Medical Center says, “ethanol is what has been approved. Methanol would work as a hand sanitizer but the reason we don’t use it for that is because methanol is extremely toxic to the human body,”
The FDA says substantial exposure to methanol can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death. They say the most at risk are young children who accidentally ingest the hand sanitizer, or young adults who drink it as a substitute for alcohol.
“It’s going to be really important that parents look at the FDA list and identify if the hand sanitizer they are providing their children with or the school is providing children with is on that list. If it is, they need to use a different sanitizer that does not contain methanol,” says Dr. Dominguez.
When you buy your hand sanitizer, check the drug facts label on the back to get a better understanding of what you’re putting on your hands. Dr. Dominguez says you want to see it read “ethanol” or “ethyl alcohol” at over 60% -- this ensures the concentration is high enough to kill viruses and bacteria. If the bottle only reads “alcohol” as the active ingredient, this is inadequate because both ethanol and methanol are considered alcohol.
The FDA says consumers must be vigilant when buying hand sanitizing products and to immediately stop using all products listed under their “List of Dangerous Hand Sanitizer Products.” You can locate this list under the tab Big Red Box.