How to know if hand sanitizer contains methanol and has been recalled by the FDA

The Food and Drug Administration has recently added more hand sanitizers to their established recall list due to the possible presence of a toxic chemical. There are now 75 company products featured on the FDA list to be avoided as they may contain the chemical methanol also known as wood alcohol. Methanol is a toxic alcohol used primarily in pesticides and alternative fuel sources that can be dangerous when ingested or absorbed through the skin. The FDA is warning consumers of a sharp increase of products labeled to contain ethanol (ethyl alcohol) but have tested positive for methanol contamination.

What Consumers Need to Know

Products that have tested positive for methanol contamination have been supplied and sold in major store chains throughout the United States. Adverse effects such as blindness, hospitalizations, and death have been reported in children and adults who have used hand sanitizers containing methanol either by absorbing it through the skin or ingesting by mouth.

With one carbon atom, methanol is the simplest alcohol making it cheaper to produce. Some manufacturers are using this lower grade alternative for easier production presenting a dangerous product to consumers disguised as health-conscious item. Consumers are able to view the list of recalled products on the FDA website and can also utilize the search feature to find specific hand sanitizers on the list. To try and avoid methanol contaminated items that have not yet been added to the list or if you cannot access the list, the FDA has some points of concern consumers can look out for.

  • Hand sanitizers that are labeled to contain low levels of ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol.
  • Hand sanitizers being sold that claim they prevent the spread of viruses such as COVID-19 and claim to have prolonged protection (e.g. up to 24 Hours)
  • Products marked as FDA approved. “FDA approved” is a fraudulent statement as there are no hand sanitizers approved by the FDA, only regulated.
  • Products labeled or packaged to look like drinks, candy, or liquor bottles. While not necessarily meaning methanol contamination, these products can result in accidental ingestion or encouraged ingestion by children. 

What Businesses Can Do

To ensure suppliers are providing products with acceptable ingredients and are meeting safety guidelines, business to consumer markets should conduct vendor-supplier quality audits. Conducting quality audits with vendors and suppliers prior to stocking shelves with hand sanitizers ensures that methanol contaminated brands do not reach the consumer. This preventative action can save businesses time, money, and most importantly the lives of the consumers. Vendor-supplier quality audits can be conducted through third party assessors, ensuring product compliance with FDA guidelines.

What Labtopia Can Do to Help

Labtopia’s consulting services consist of partial or turn-key solutions for every aspect of the quality assurance system. We offer customized solutions based on your specific needs and scope of work. Services include:

  • Vendor- Supplier Quality Audits
  • Corrective and Preventive Action Management
  • Interim and Part-Time Quality Assurance Support
  • Interpretation of Monograph Requirements to Ensure Compliance
  • Assistance with Adverse Advents Reports to the FDA

Contact Labtopia today to ensure your suppliers are meeting FDA safety guidelines!