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FDA Warns Again About Methanol-containing Hand Sanitizers

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Monday the Food and Drug Administration released a fresh warning on hand sanitizers that are labeled to contain methanol.

The FDA has been repeatedly warning consumers and healthcare workers about hand sanitizers with methanol which is cheaper than ethanol, a disinfectant. Nevertheless, methanol is toxic when absorbed through the skin and can be fatal if ingested.

The regulator has detained certain hand sanitizers from entering the U.S.market by placing them on import alert. An import alert by the FDA implies that the agency does not think the product is safe.

The FDA first warned about methanol-containing hand sanitizers being sold in June. It issued a further warning early this month about the rising number of adverse events, including blindness, cardiac effects, effects on the central nervous system, and hospitalizations and death. According to the regulator, the figures continue to increase.

The agency has issued a warning letter to Eskbiochem S.A. de C.V. on the grounds of undeclared methanol present in its hand sanitizers as well as raising misleading claims of FDA approval for the product.

The FDA urges consumers to stop using all hand sanitizers on the FDA's list of dangerous hand sanitizer products, which is being updated regularly.

"We remain extremely concerned about the potential serious risks of alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing methanol. Producing, importing and distributing toxic hand sanitizers poses a serious threat to the public and will not be tolerated. The FDA will take additional action as necessary and will continue to provide the latest information on this issue for the health and safety of consumers," said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D.

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