Health

FDA Warns Against Hand Sanitizers Containing Methanol and Other Toxins

Image: USATODAY.com

With the rise in the number of coronavirus infections around the world, the demand for items for prevention has also gone up. For example, more and more people are looking for hand sanitizers to carry outdoors in order to use when soap and water are not available. Since there is a higher demand, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has eased restrictions on the manufacturing requirements on hand sanitizers.

This has caused over one thousand new manufacturers to join the market of sanitizers. While the changes in the rules of the manufacturing process have definitely helped with the production of enough sanitizers for the pandemic, there is also a new problem now.

The overflow of sanitizers from different manufacturers has brought poor quality and harmful sanitizers in the market. This is why a number of people have also reported adverse side effects of constantly using such sanitizers. For example, many have reportedly experience burning, skin damage, and peeling of the skin.

Read also: Face Masks Can Also Help in Social Distancing 

However, these may just be the trivial negative effects of some sanitizers. The FDA has recently warned against at least nine hand sanitizers containing toxins such as methanol. Methanol is a highly toxic substance that can cause life-threatening conditions.

Research has associated ingestion or exposure to high levels of methanol with systemic acidosis, blindness, optic nerve damage, and irreversible effects on the central nervous system (CNS). In some cases, exposure to methanol for a longer period of time can even lead to death.

This is why products and items containing methanol are dangerous and should be avoided. The FDA has warned against nine manufacturers that have sanitizers containing toxins. Some of them may even contain up to eighty-one percent of methanol.

Read more on methanol-containing hand sanitizers here. 

A hand sanitizer containing a high amount of methanol can dehydrate and damage the skin as well as increase the risk of infections. However, the main problem occurs when the toxin is able to enter the body and cause poisoning.

Methanol poisoning can be a result of using hand sanitizers containing toxins as well as inhalation of the vapors. While this can be a problem for anyone using toxic sanitizers, younger children are especially at a higher risk.

This is because the ingestion of sanitizers in children is becoming a common incident. Leaving children, especially very young ones can increase the risk of poisoning. In case the sanitizer contains methanol, there are also high chances of irreversible consequences and even death.

According to the FDA, if any hand sanitizers containing toxins or other products with methanol are present at home, they should be thrown out. However, keep in mind that the disposal should only be done containing toxic waste material containers. Do not flush the sanitizers down the drain or toss them directly in the trash.

Hand sanitizers for coronavirus pandemic should be bought carefully. The saturation of the hand sanitizer can be check either by using the FDA’s guide or the World Health Organization’s. Ideally, a hand sanitizer should not contain any toxic chemicals but even without them, people, especially parents should be careful.

A usual hand sanitizer contains high levels of alcohol which is needed for killing pathogens. Therefore, they should be handled carefully and kept away from children.

About the author

Abeera I. Kazmi

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