FDA expands list of hand sanitizers that contain toxic substance methanol

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded the number of hand sanitizers they recommend U.S. residents avoid due to the potential presence of a toxic substance.

The FDA has issued warnings about 59 different hand sanitizers as of Friday, many of which contain methanol, which can be dangerous when absorbed through the skin or ingested. 

All of the sanitizers appear to have been produced in Mexico. The FDA recommended recalls for the products and warned that it has "seen a sharp increase in hand sanitizer products that are labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination."

Hand sanitizer has been in high demand across the country for months amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using hand sanitizers that contain at least 60 percent alcohol.

Last month, the FDA issued warnings against the use of nine hand sanitizers produced by the Mexico-based manufacturer Eskbiochem SA. Some of the producers of the hand sanitizers that the FDA has issued recent warnings over include 4E Global, AAA Cosmetica and Eskbiochem, among others. 

Exposure to methanol can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death, according to the FDA. The agency called for all people to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 

The FDA has previously recommended that users dispose of the hand sanitizers that could pose a risk in hazardous waste containers, without pouring them down a drain or flushing them. 

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