With the rise in COVID-19 infections, the demand for the germ killing hand sanitizers has been growing consistently. With the US emerging as the epicentre of the disease globally, FDA relaxed the norms for permitting the manufacturing of hand sanitizers. There are more than 1500 manufacturers have been permitted to come out with their products, the quality appears to have taken a backseat.
Arizona has witnessed growing cases of hospitalization and death due to the use of hand sanitizers with Methanol. Past two months have seen several people being admitted to hospital due to the ill effects of ingesting hand sanitizers with methanol. Director of Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center, Dr. Steve Dudley went on record stating that four people have died and 26 people were hospitalized after they ingested a hand sanitizer that contained methanol.
Of course, there are a few other issues here as well that have things to do with an acute alcoholism. Some of the people admitted to the hospital have admitted to have been drinking the hand sanitizer as a substitute to alcohol. The conditions induced by the voluntary and accidental ingestion of hand sanitizers with methanol would include visual disturbances, vision loss and severely altered mental status.
What is this about Hand Sanitizers with Methanol?
Methanol is a common name for Methyl Alcohol. It can be extremely toxic when ingested through the skin or even through other means. The FDA has warned people against the use of hand sanitizers with methanol as early as June 19. In fact, the said warning had marked nine sanitizer brands as being harmful for use.
FDA has gone on record stating that,
Methanol can cause several severe health conditions and can be extremely fatal if ingested in high quantity. Some of the health conditions that can arise due to ingesting methanol can include nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or even death.
Avoid these Nine Hand Sanitizers with Methanol
FDA has listed the following nine hand sanitizers with methanol as being dangerous and marked them NOT suitable for use. The nine brands “quarantined” by the FDA are-
That apart, FDA has also recalled 67 products, while a huge list of them includes the products imported from Mexico.
How to Avoid Hand Sanitizers with Methanol?
Check the ingredients or content of your hand sanitizer before buying it. The first thing to stay safer is to go for the brands that you have already built a trust for. This includes brands such as Touchland, Purell and similar brands that have remained a worthwhile option even before this pandemic erupted.
The best option would be to check for the ingredients under the label and go with the product that has ethanol/ethyl alcohol or isopropyl/isopropanol as an active ingredient. According to CDC, the right hand sanitizer would be the one that has 60 per cent ethanol and 70 per cent isopropanol. FDA, on the other hand, expects the sanitizer to have a minimum of 94.9 per cent by volume of ethanol.
Another key lookout would be to avoid all products from Mexico for now. Also, find if the label specifically mentions ethyl alcohol. If it simply mentions alcohol, it would be a good idea to avoid it.
And yes, contrary to the popular belief and fad, it should be noticed that hand sanitizers are not intensely necessary if you are staying at home. Washing your hands with soap for 20 seconds is a great option at all times than using a hand sanitizer. A hand sanitizer is the only option when you do not have access to water and soap, as in the case of on the road or any other market.