(800)525-7111 Free Consultation

Hand Sanitizer Recall: FDA Warns of Methanol Contamination

Riddle Brantley LLP   |  July 27, 2020   |  

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers to avoid certain hand sanitizers due to methanol contamination. Certain manufacturers have issued hand sanitizer recalls in response to potential methanol danger.

Methanol is a dangerous substance that is known to cause serious health problems in humans, including blindness, permanent damage to the nervous system, and even death.

Hand Sanitizer Recalls - Riddle & BrantleyRecently, the Washington Post reported on the hand sanitizer recalls and noted that “Many of the products’ labels say they contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but FDA tests show that they contain methanol, or wood alcohol.”

Demand for hand sanitizer has skyrocketed in the U.S. due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and many brands have rushed new products to market. Some of these hand sanitizers may be toxic and dangerous if ingested, or if vapors are inhaled or the skin is exposed.

What Hand Sanitizers Have Been Recalled?

This is a fast-moving situation and the status of hand sanitizer recalls may change rapidly. For the latest updates on hand sanitizer recalls — including which brands and products are affected — please visit the FDA’s hand sanitizer recall page. Recalled hand sanitizers have been carried by such popular retailers as Costco, Walmart, and BJ’s Wholesale Club.

Dangerous Methanol Contamination

Methanol is a dangerous and toxic chemical. It is commonly used in industrial applications and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even advises those handling methanol to use personal protective equipment (PPE).

Exposure to methanol can result in:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Permanent blindness
  • Coma
  • Seizure
  • Death

Methanol Danger - Riddle & BrantleyThere are other potential complications and conditions associated with exposure to methanol, and hospitalization may be required as part of treatment. In its report on the hand sanitizer recall issue, the Washington Post notes that since May 2020 “at least seven people have died and dozens have been hospitalized in Arizona and New Mexico after ingesting hand sanitizer containing methanol.”

While certain cases of methanol ingestion are related to alcoholism, the CDC also warns that “inhalation of high concentrations of methanol vapor and absorption of methanol through the skin are as effective as the oral route in producing toxic effects.”

This reality makes recent hand sanitizer recalls more important than ever.

“I’ve been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol. What should I do?”

IMPORTANT: If you’ve been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol and suffered any of the above symptoms or other medical problems, seek medical assistance immediately. Methanol poisoning can be serious and even life-threatening.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) is also available to answer non-urgent questions. For more information, please call the Poison Help Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

The FDA advises that “Although all persons using these products are at risk for methanol poisoning, young children who accidentally ingest these products and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk.”

If your hand sanitizer is included on the FDA’s list of hand sanitizers containing methanol, the FDA advises you to stop using the product immediately. Many alternatives are available ­— in fact, most hand sanitizers do not contain methanol and are safe to use.

Hand Sanitizer Recalls and Potential Legal Action

Hand Sanitizer Recalls and Legal Action - Riddle & BrantleyThose who have suffered illness or injury due to potentially dangerous products deserve justice and may be entitled to compensation.

Hand sanitizer recalls are ongoing and the FDA has issued an urgent warning. Our firm is actively monitoring this situation. We may engage in future legal action against potentially negligent hand sanitizer manufacturers.

For the latest on potential toxic hand sanitizer lawsuits and compensation that may be available to victims, please stay tuned to our personal injury blog.