The CDC is warning consumers about the risks of methanol-based hand sanitizers following reports of serious adverse health events from their use.
At a Glance
- Certain brands of hand sanitizer or hand rub may contain methanol.
- Methanol is a toxic alcohol that can lead to serious health consequences, including blindness and death.
- Consumers should check the FDA's list of products to avoid. FDA list »
Methanol in hand sanitizers is a health risk
Most commercially available alcohol-based hand sanitizers contain either ethanol or isopropanol as active ingredients. On June 19, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised consumers not to use any hand sanitizer manufactured by Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico, because it may contain methanol, a toxic alcohol which can cause blindness or death when absorbed through the skin or when swallowed. Since then, the FDA has identified additional sanitizer products that contain methanol, and is working with manufacturers and distributors on a voluntary recall of these products.
What you should do
The public is advised to:
- Seek immediate medical attention and contact the Mississippi poison control center (1-800-222-1222) for advice if they have swallowed a sanitizer product or are experiencing symptoms from repeated use of products that are on the FDA's testing and manufacturer's recalls list,
- Stop using any sanitizer or rub on the FDA's testing and manufacturer's recalls list. Using these methanol-containing products may result in serious adverse health events such as blindness and death, and
- Never swallow an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or rub, and only use them for their intended purpose.
Clinicians are advised to be highly suspicious of methanol poisoning when a patient presents with a history of ingestion of alcohol-based hand sanitizers or rubs, compatible signs and symptoms, and laboratory findings.