Hand sanitizers that are effective against the coronavirus are those that include at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol. But there are a few brands that use methanol, a more toxic type of alcohol, and the FDA recently issued a warning not to use them.
The methanol-containing sanitizers are all made by Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico. These are the brand names and national drug codes to look out for:
- All-Clean Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-002-01)
- Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-007-01)
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-008-04)
- Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-006-01)
- The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-010-10)
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-005-03)
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-009-01)
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-003-01)
- Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-001-01)
For more on sanitizing, check out the video below:
If you have any of these hand sanitizers, don’t use them. The FDA asks that you not pour them down the drain, however; instead dispose of them in “appropriate hazardous waste containers.” (We’ve reached out to the FDA to ask what exactly this means, and whether it’s okay to just put your bottle of sanitizer in the trash. We’ll update if they respond.)
Methanol poisoning might occur if you use these sanitizers on your skin frequently or in large amounts, but it’s more likely if the sanitizer is ingested. This could include children getting into the sanitizer, or teens or adults ingesting it thinking it contains ethanol (you can get drunk off of regular hand sanitizer, although attempting to do so is an absolutely a terrible idea).
Symptoms of methanol poisoning, according to the FDA, include “nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death.” If you’ve used one of these offending brands and are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical care right away.
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If you have used the sanitizer but aren’t sure whether you should be concerned, there’s always the poison control hotline, which can be reached at 1-800-222-1222 or through their website.