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Methanol-Containing Hand Sanitizers Can be Toxic

July 2, 2020

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a warning to protect consumers and health care workers from using hand sanitizers that contain methanol (also called wood alcohol). Methanol is toxic and can be absorbed through the skin. These products may be life-threatening when ingested, especially by young children

Methanol exposure may cause:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Permanent blindness
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Permanent damage to the nervous system
  • Death

The press release on the FDA website contains more detailed information and guidance Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving .

A listing of hand sanitizers containing methanol is located on the FDA website Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving . Please review this list and make sure that neither you or your patients are using these products. If you have these products, be aware that they have been recalled and the FDA advises against using them.

Anyone experiencing symptoms of methanol toxicity should seek medical treatment.

Report adverse events related to hand sanitizer use or other medicines to the MedWatch program as recommended in the Indian Health Manual and include “IHS” in the reporter section (section G).

Instructions for reporting can be found online at the NPTC Pharmacovigilance website.