FDA recalls more hand sanitizers over potentially dangerous chemicals

The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) rolling list of potentially dangerous hand sanitizers has just expanded -- again.

Shane Erickson, Inc. issued a voluntary recall for three separate products due to the potential presence of methanol, which is a substance often used to create fuel and antifreeze.

The recalled hand sanitizers are used "for handwashing to decrease bacteria on the skin when soap and water are not available," the FDA's warning notice read. All products are packaged in a white opaque or clear plastic bottle with either a blue, clear or black cap.

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"All persons using these products on their hands are at risk," the FDA said, although those who ingest it, either by accident or as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk for methanol poisoning.

The FDA has been adding to its continuously updated list since June when the agency observed an increase in hand sanitizers that purportedly contained ethanol but tested positive for methanol contamination.

The tainted items have been introduced into the market at a time of heightened risk, with more consumers relying on sanitizers during the coronavirus pandemic.

There are now over 220 products that consumers need to be wary of, according to the FDA. In most cases, the toxic chemical does not even appear on the label.

Most of the products are labeled to contain ethanol or isopropyl alcohol but have instead tested positive for methanol. Some products were also found to have 1-propanol contamination. 1-propanol is not to be confused with 2-propanol/isopropanol/isopropyl alcohol, the FDA said.

Both chemicals are "not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizer products marketed in the United States and can be toxic and life-threatening when ingested," the agency said.

A detailed view of a hand sanitizer station at Lambeau Field during a game between the Green Bay Packers and the Carolina Panthers on December 19, 2020 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Substantial exposure to methanol can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death, according to the FDA. Consumers experiencing symptoms should seek "immediate treatment," the agency said.

Meanwhile, the 1-propanol can cause central nervous system depression, which can result in death, if ingested, the agency said. Symptoms of exposure to the toxic chemical can include confusion, decreased consciousness, and slowed pulse and breathing.

Consumers should avoid using any sanitizers produced by the listed manufacturers and properly dispose of any hand sanitizer on the list.

According to the notice, Shane Erickson is notifying its distributors and customers of the recall and is arranging for the return of the affected products.

To date, the company has not received any reports of adverse reactions from the recalled hand sanitizers.

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