Reports of Poisoning From ‘Toxic’ Hand Sanitizers Are ‘Rising,’ FDA Says

FDA Sanitizer

Twitter/ @FDA_Drug_Info

The FDA has issued a written warning to the Mexican manufacturer of U.S.-distributed hand sanitizers as the number of reported poisonings from exposure to methanol continues to rise.

The FDA issued a warning letter to the company Eskbiochem SA de CV “regarding the distribution of products labeled as manufactured at its facilities with undeclared methanol, misleading claims –including incorrectly stating that FDA approved these products—and improper manufacturing practices,” a statement released on July 27 said.

The company was previously issued instructions to remove its products from American markets in mid-June but failed to comply.

The FDA reminded consumers in its July 27 statement that its list of dangerous hand sanitizer products is being regularly updated and said the agency continues to see rising reports of “blindness, cardiac effects, effects on the central nervous system, and hospitalizations and death.”

The FDA issued the July 27 warning letter to Alexander Escamilla, owner of the Mexican company Eskbiochem SA de CV, after lab testing of the company’s products found “ethanol was substituted wholly or in part with methanol, a dangerous chemical when in contact with human skin or ingested.”

Here’s what you need to know:

An Earlier FDA Release Listed the Specific Hand Sanitizers to Avoid

The FDA alerted the public to the unsafe nature of the products adulterated with methanol in previous releases in June and July.

Saniderm Products and UVT agreed to recall the Eskbiochem SA de CV-manufactured Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 1-liter bottles, according to an FDA statement on June 29.

The FDA released a list of all unsafe hand sanitizers manufactured by Eskbiochem SA de CV on June 19, which included:

All-Clean Hand Sanitizer
Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer
CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol
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
CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer

The FDA advised on Twitter that consumers should take extra care when reading the labels of products, and they should note the manufacturer name, product name and national drug code number.

FDA Identified the Side Effects of Contact With Methanol in the Letter, Including Death

The toxic effects of methanol were outlined in the letter issued to the Mexican company. The FDA said methanol use as an ingredient in sanitizers was unacceptable and noted those who ingested the substance were most at risk of poisoning.

Side effects of exposure include “nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system, or death.”

“Although all persons using these products on their hands are at risk, young children who accidentally ingest these products, and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk,” the warning advised.

In the interim, the products would remain “listed on this import alert until the concerns with your drugs are adequately addressed and verified by FDA,” the letter stated.

Four people died in New Mexico earlier in July after drinking hand sanitizer products, according to CNN.

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