The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has expanded its warning to consumers about the use of certain hand sanitizers that may contain methanol – a wood alcohol – that could pose a serious health risk.

Methanol is often used to produce fuel and antifreeze, which the FDA warned can be toxic if it is absorbed through the skin or life-threatening if it is ingested.

State officials have reported that the contaminated hand sanitizers have caused adverse effects in adults and children, including blindness, hospitalization and death.

Symptoms of methanol exposure can include nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system, or death. Ingestion of methanol by young children accidentally or by adults as an alcohol substitute can cause more severe risks.

The hand sanitizers that the FDA is warning consumers about can be found here. The FDA listed 13 products, all of which are based in Mexico.

The FDA is urging consumers not to use these hand sanitizers. They should be disposed of in a hazardous waste container or as recommended by local waste management or recycling center. They should not be flushed or poured down the drain or mixed with other liquids.

Those that have symptoms of methanol-poisoning should contact their healthcare provider for immediate treatment.

“All Americans should practice good hand hygiene, which includes using alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. “Unfortunately, there are some companies taking advantage of the increased usage of hand sanitizer during the coronavirus pandemic and putting lives at risk by selling products with dangerous and unacceptable ingredients.

Previously, the FDA warned about nine different hand sanitizers with some products produced by Eskbiochem, which has since recalled the products. The agency is also working with other manufacturers and distributors of hand sanitizer to issue a recall as these products can still be found at retail stores and online.

People are reminded to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60% ethanol is recommended.

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