Important additional information and clarification about safe and unsafe hand sanitizers that were mentioned in the July 2020 Main Gate. Please note the dangers that may exist.
After the remarks about Covid-19 and hygiene precautions in the July Main Gate were sent to the printer, the FDA issued recalls and warnings about hand sanitizers that contain methanol. We want to clarify the recommendation about hand sanitizer listed under the heading “Hygiene precautions to take now”, on page 2. Methanol (wood alcohol) can be absorbed through the skin, and cause methanol poisoning. Moreover, it is extremely dangerous to ingest (drink). Methanol poisoning can cause nausea, damage to the nervous system (including blindness), and even death. Methanol is considered a contaminant in hand sanitizer, which should only contain ethanol (ethyl alcohol).
To be effective, FDA recommends that hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% ethanol. Hand sanitizer that contains methanol is dangerous to use because of the potential to cause methanol poisoning, especially in children. Unfortunately, even if it is in the hand sanitizer, it may not be listed as an ingredient. We urge caution, especially with hand sanitizer that is imported, such as from Mexico. If possible, stay with a reputable brand, and check the ingredient list. If that list includes methanol, choose a different hand sanitizer.
More information is on an FDA web page: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-updates-hand-sanitizers-methanol