There is an updated warning about hand sanitizers – now a list of over 100 products. Most are manufactured in Mexico. Some have insufficient amounts of ethyl or isopropyl alcohol, while others have methanol, a potentially deadly ingredient.
FDA updated warnings on July 31
The announcement by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated, “FDA test results show certain hand sanitizers have concerningly low levels of ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, which are active ingredients in hand sanitizer products. The agency urges consumers not to use these subpotent products and has expanded its list to include subpotent hand sanitizers, in addition to hand sanitizers that are or may be contaminated with methanol.”
Why not use methanol in hand sanitizers?
Methanol is toxic and was found in a number of hand sanitizers. It can enter a person’s system through inhalation, ingestion, and absorption through skin. It can produce nausea, vomiting, blindness, loss of consciousness, and can cause death. Children are especially susceptible to harm. It is also flammable due to its fumes. Not all bottles may be labeled sufficiently, so the best path is to use brands that are recognizable.
With the shortage of hand sanitizers, the FDA enlisted an additional 1500 manufacturers to produce the product. They are testing products as they’re produced and found most substandard sanitizers manufactured in Mexico. Recalls were issued as well as alerts that stop their importation into the country. Still, be aware of the warning about hand sanitizers – vigilance is key.
What are other problems?
Many of the new entrants to the sanitizer market are distillers and other companies not familiar with the manufacture of hand sanitizers. Some of the issues found include:
- A lower than allowed percentage of ethyl or isopropyl alcohol
- A minimal 60% ethanol/ethyl and 70% isopropyl/isopropanol alcohol is necessary for sanitizing. It should show as the active ingredient on the label.
- Bottles that resemble small liquor, soda or water bottles
- This has led to accidental or intentional ingestion of a toxic liquid – especially in children.
- Bottles that are not resealable
- The alcohol can evaporate if not sufficiently sealed.
- Alcohol that is not denatured
- This is a little known, but critical need. Denaturing gives the product a bitter taste and bad smell that discourages consumption.
- Distilleries do not use this process in the making of spirits. The ingredients are expensive and hard to find. Damage to distillers’ equipment can occur with the denatured alcohol. With these impediments, the American Distilling Institute (ADI) and the FDA still recommend compliance despite the obstacles.
Soap and water is best
Recommendations are to use hand sanitizers ONLY if soap and water are not available. Plain soap is preferred over antibacterial products. Why? Overuse of antibiotic soaps can encourage bacteria growth that will no longer be killed by antibiotics. Clostridioides difficile (C. diff), a hard-to-cure infection often found in hospitals, does not respond to hand sanitizers. Only soap and water are effective in killing and avoiding the spread of C. diff. Additionally, there is no proof that antibacterial soaps work better than plain soaps.
What can you do to protect yourself and your family?
• Take any warning about hand sanitizers seriously and check the FDA sites regularly for updates.
• Wash your hands with soap when possible and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers with the recommended percentages of alcohol.
• Be wary of hand sanitizers coming from Mexico because of possible methanol and less than recommended percentages of approved alcohols.
• Keep all hand sanitizers out of the reach of children. If they are in a bottle that resembles soda, water, or liquor transfer to another bottle, such as a travel sized shampoo bottle.
Check your current hand sanitizers and when shopping
Be aware of the warning about hand sanitizers. The FDA instructs you should avoid the following products:
Blumen Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer with 70% Alcohol
Blumen Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear Ethyl Alcohol 70%
BLUMEN Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear
KLAR AND DANVER Instant Hand Sanitizer
MODESA Instant Hand Sanitizer Moisturizers and Vitamin E
BLUMEN Advanced Hand Sanitizer
BLUMEN Advanced Hand Sanitizer Aloe
BLUMEN Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Lavender
BLUMEN Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer
BLUMEN Clear LEAR Advanced Hand Sanitizer
The Honeykeeper Hand Sanitizer
BLUMEN Advanced Hand Sanitizer Clear
BLUMEN Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer
BLUMEN Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe
BLUMEN Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Lavender
BLUMEN Aloe Advanced Hand Sanitizer, with 70 Alcohol
Blumen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Lavender, with 70% alcohol
Blumen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Aloe, with 70% alcohol
Blumen Antibacterial Fresh Citrus Hand Sanitizer
Blumen Hand Sanitizer Fresh Citrus
KLAR and DANVER Instant Hand Sanitizer
Hello Kitty Hand Sanitizer
Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer (Vitamin E and Aloe)
Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer (Aloe and Moisturizers)
Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer Vitamin E and Aloe
Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe and Moisturizers
BLUMEN Instant Hand Sanitizer Fragrance Free
BLUMEN Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe Vera
bio aaa Advance Hand Sanitizer
LumiSkin Advance Hand Sanitizer 4 oz
LumiSkin Advance Hand Sanitizer 16 oz
QualitaMed Hand Sanitizer
NEXT Hand Sanitizer
Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer with 70% Alcohol extra soft with glycerin and aloe
NuuxSan Instant Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer
NuuxSan Instant Hand Sanitizer
Assured Instant Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer with Aloe and Moisturizers
Assured Instant Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer with Vitamin E and Aloe
Modesa Instant Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer with Moisturizers and Aloe Vera
Modesa Instant Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer with Moisturizers and Vitamin E
Herbacil Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer 70% Alcohol
Earths Amenities Instant Unscented Hand Sanitizer with Aloe Vera Advanced
Hand Sanitizer Agavespa Skincare
Vidanos Easy Cleaning Rentals Hand Sanitizer Agavespa Skincare
All-Clean Hand Sanitizer
Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer
Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer
The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer
CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol
Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer Gel Unscented 70% Alcohol
Medicare Alcohol Antiseptic Topical Solution
GelBact Hand Sanitizer
Sayab Antisepctic Hand Sanitizer 100
Jaloma Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer Ethyl Alcohol 62% with Vitamin E
Leiper’s Fork Distillery Bulk Disinfectant per 5 gallon and Leiper’s Fork Distillery 16 oz bottle
Optimus Instant Hand Sanitizer
Optimus Lubricants Instant Hand Sanitizer
Selecto Hand Sanitizer
Shine and Clean Hand Sanitizer
Hand Sanitizer Disinfectant Gel 70% Ethyl Alcohol
Hand Sanitizer Disinfectant Gel 70% Ethyl Alcohol Rinse Free Hand Rub
Mystic Shield Protection hand sanitizer
Born Basic. Anti-Bac Hand Sanitizer 70% alcohol
Born Basic. Anti-Bac Hand Sanitizer 65% Alcohol
Scent Theory — Keep It Clean — Pure Clean Anti-bacterial Hand Sanitizer
ENLIVEN Hand Sanitizing Gel
Lux Eoi Hand Sanitizing Gel
Scent Theory — Keep It Clean — Pure Clean Anti-bacterial Hand Sanitizer
Bersih Hand Sanitizer Gel Fragrance Free
Bersih Antiseptic Alcohol 70% Topical Solution hand sanitizer
Purity Advanced Hand Sanitizer
Hand Sanitizer Gel Alcohol 70%
TriCleanz Tritanium Labs Hand Sanitizer
Britz Hand Sanitizer Ethyl Alcohol 70%
Parabola Hand Sanitizer
Urbane Bath and Body Hand Sanitizer
Cleaner Hand Sanitizer Rinse Free 70%
Handzer Hand Sanitizer Rinse Free
Kleanz Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer Advanced
Be Safe Hand Sanitizer
Wave Hand Sanitizer Gel
DAESI Hand Sanitizer