FDA Issues New Warning on Tainted Hand Sanitizer

July 28, 2020

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday issued a new warning about hand sanitizers tainted with methanol. The FDA says consumers and healthcare professionals should not use certain alcohol-based hand sanitizers due to the dangerous presence of methanol, or wood alcohol. Methanol is often used to create fuel and antifreeze and can be toxic when absorbed through the skin as well as life-threatening when ingested. The agency has also taken additional action to help prevent certain hand sanitizers from entering the United States by placing them on an import alert. The FDA is proactively working with manufacturers to recall products and is encouraging retailers to remove products from store shelves and online marketplaces.

The FDA has posted a do-not-use list of dangerous hand sanitizer products, which is being updated regularly. In most cases, methanol does not appear on the product label. However, methanol is not an acceptable ingredient in any drug, including hand sanitizer, even if methanol is listed as an ingredient on the product label. The FDA’s ongoing testing has found methanol contamination in hand sanitizer products ranging from 1% to 80%.