The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has added three more hand sanitizers to its rolling list of products recalled because of possible contamination with a toxic chemical. According to a Fox6 news report, more than 65 of the cleansers have now tested positive for methanol, which could be toxic if absorbed through the skin or ingested. A majority of these products appear to have been made in Mexico, with recalls issued by the manufacturer or the distributor.
The items tainted with methanol have been introduced to the U.S. market at a critical time when consumers are depending on hand sanitizers to protect themselves from the coronavirus. Demand for the sanitizers was so high in March that store shelves across the country were left empty as a number of people stormed stores and stocked upon them.
The FDA has been continually updating its list of toxic sanitizers. As of July 12, that number is at 59. The agency initially warned consumers about these products last month when they observed an increase in hand sanitizers that purportedly contained ethanol but tested positive for methanol.
Why Methanol is Dangerous
Methanol is a toxic alcohol that is typically used as a solvent, pesticide or alternative fuel source. Exposure to methanol can cause a number of symptoms including headache, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or even death. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms is asked to seek immediate treatment.
The CDC is advising consumers to use hand sanitizer only when soap is not available. Consumers should look for products that are alcohol-based and contain at least 60% of alcohol. The best way to prevent the spread of infections is to wash your hands with plain soap and water for at least 20 seconds, health officials say.
If You Have Been Affected
Toxic exposure is obviously a serious concern with these hand sanitizers, especially at a time when everyone, from average consumers to front-line healthcare workers, is using hand sanitizers frequently to help curb the spread of the virus. If you or a loved one has suffered adverse health effects as a result of these products, you may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, permanent injuries, and pain and suffering. An experienced product defect lawyer will be able to advise you regarding your legal rights and options.