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FDA Recalls More Potentially Toxic Hand Sanitizers

FDA Recalls More Potentially Toxic Hand Sanitizers
The FDA said hand sanitizer products they are recalling have labels stating they contain ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, but have tested positive for methanol, or wood alcohol. If methanol is absorbed through the skin, it can cause blindness and hospitalizations, or even death if ingested. (AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 22 July 2020 02:41 PM

There are at least 75 hand sanitizers that the Food and Drug Administration is calling off the shelves, NBC News reports.

The FDA has expanded the list of hand sanitizers it is recalling over toxic levels of wood alcohol.

Some of the products are sold at Walmart, Costco and other national chains, according to NBC News.

The FDA said the products they are recalling have labels stating they contain ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, but have tested positive for methanol, or wood alcohol. If methanol is absorbed through the skin, it can cause blindness and hospitalizations, or even death if ingested.

Health officials have recommended Americans use hand sanitizer as a way to protect themselves against catching coronavirus. There has been an increase in demand for hand sanitizer and the FDA said some questionable new brands have entered U.S. stores. It said a majority of the recalled products have been imported from Mexico.

“Unfortunately, there are some companies taking advantage of the increased usage of hand sanitizer during the coronavirus pandemic and putting lives at risk by selling products with dangerous and unacceptable ingredients. Consumers and health care providers should not use methanol-containing hand sanitizers,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in a statement July 2.

Peter Pitts, former FDA associate commissioner and president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, said the products end up on shelves because companies are not following the typical steps necessary to ensure product safety.

He told NBC News that selling the dangerous hand sanitizers is “like selling an unapproved drug.”

“When you're in a large company or a small company and you're buying products in bulk, as sanitizer is purchased, you want to understand the provenance of that product — where it was manufactured, whether or not it's been approved under good manufacturing standards brought by the FDA — and clearly that was simply ignored,” he said.

BJ’s wholesale club recently recalled Blumen Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer with 70% alcohol due to its methanol content. The product was also recalled by Costco and Walmart.

The FDA first issues a warning about nine products made in Mexico in June. Since then, dozens more hand sanitizers have been added to the list.

Ten deaths and dozens of hospitalizations in Arizona and New Mexico are believed to be attributed to methanol in hand sanitizers, NBC News reports.

In two of the Arizona cases, patients had purchased hand sanitizers from a grocery store, but the brand is unknown.

In New Mexico, there have been six deaths and two people with permanent blindness due to the toxic hand sanitizer, according to Dr. Brandon Warrick, assistant professor in the department of emergency medicine at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

Experts advise shoppers to check the FDA's regularly updated list for dangerous hand sanitizers before buying an unknown brand.

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There are at least 75 hand sanitizers that the Food and Drug Administration is calling off the shelves, NBC News reports.
FDA, toxic hand sanitizers, coronavirus
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2020-41-22
Wednesday, 22 July 2020 02:41 PM
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