The coronavirus pandemic has caused many of us to take hand hygiene more seriously than ever before. We now know how to wash our hands properly, and we’ve been washing them quite often.

While washing your hands with soap and water is a great way to keep them clean, soap and water aren’t always available. Sometimes we reach for hand sanitizer instead. For example, maybe you keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your purse so you can sanitize your hands after a trip to the grocery store.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol. Hopefully, you checked the label before purchasing your hand sanitizer, but even if you did, you’re going to want to check the label again.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some hand sanitizers that say they contain ethanol on the label actually contain methanol, a wood alcohol which is used in antifreeze and fuel production . According to the FDA, methanol is “toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and can be life-threatening when ingested.”

When we rub hand sanitizer on our hands it is being absorbed into our skin, so we definitely don’t want methanol in it! If a child happens to decide to drink it, the results could be tragic. Methanol, when ingested, can cause blindness, hospitalization or even death.

The FDA has been investigating hand sanitizers and has found methanol contamination in multiple hand sanitizers that were produced by a company called 4G Global. This Mexican company may have the name Blumen on the hand sanitizer label.

What should you do if you have been using a hand sanitizer that contains methanol? Contact your doctor immediately if you have any of the following symptoms of methanol poisoning: blurred vision, headache, nausea, or vomiting.

This is not the first time the FDA has discovered potentially dangerous hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer manufactured by Eskbiochem SA de CV may also be contaminated with methanol. 

Do you use hand sanitizer on a regular basis? Does it surprise you that some hand sanitizers contain a potentially life-threatening ingredient?