With the onset of COVID-19, the demand for cleaning products and disinfectants has been on the rise. One of the most popular of these products is hand sanitizer. Bottles have been flying off the shelves non-stop since March, and many stores are still limiting customers on how much they can buy.

Many new brands have popped up since the start of the pandemic, rushing to capitalize on the sanitizer boom. But with the pressure to meet demand has come major oversights in quality control. The Food and Drug Administration has identified and listed 135 products and counting that consumers should avoid. The reason? These products, though labeled otherwise, have been found to contain methanol.

Deadly Ingredients

One of the key ingredients in hand sanitizer is ethanol. Ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol, is a natural byproduct of plant fermentation. It has antibacterial properties, making it a commonly found compound in antiseptics and disinfectants, including hand sanitizer.

Methanol, however, is a wood-based alcohol. Typically, it is used to make fuel, solvents, antifreeze, and pesticides, and it’s toxic to humans upon absorption. The CDC describes potential exposure methods of methanol as “absorption into the body by inhalation, ingestion, skin contact, or eye contact.” In addition to being toxic via absorption, it also proves to have adverse effects once inside the body. Ingestion of methanol has also been known to cause blindness and vision problems, kidney failure, other organ failure, and even death.

When broken down by the body, methanol forms toxins, including formaldehyde, formic acid, and formate. In large amounts, this can cause metabolic disturbances, and even prove to be lethal. Since May, dozens of people have been hospitalized due to the adverse effects of ingesting methanol via hand sanitizer, and at least seven people have died.

New Recalls Every Month

The FDA began warning consumers of methanol-containing hand sanitizers in June, citing nine products that were manufactured in Mexico. They also warned buyers of the adverse effects associated with using these products such as coordination problems, vomiting, abdominal pain, reduced consciousness, and seizures.

Soon after, they expanded their list, which now consists of over 135 recalled hand sanitizer products. In their notice, they recommend that those who have purchased these toxic products stop using them immediately, seek medical attention, and dispose of any remaining products in a hazardous waste facility.

Many professions, such as the healthcare industry and industries involving other essential workers, advise that their employees use hand sanitizer regularly. That usage has only increased since the start of the pandemic; in the event that someone cannot wash their hands, many workers are encouraged to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer composed of at least 60% ethanol.

But solving this problem is not as simple as reading the ingredients on the label. Many of these poisonous products have been mislabeled, meaning that consumers aren’t able to tell which products are dangerous just by looking at them. Furthermore, many of these recalled products were previously available in major retailers, including Walmart, Costco, and CVS. Consumers trust these big box stores to stock safe and FDA-approved products.

While the CDC notes that methanol poisoning via absorption via the skin is rare, it has been reported “under unusual circumstances.” That said, it is imperative that consumers get rid of these products, especially if they are easily accessible to young children, who may unintentionally ingest it. The CDC also states that methanol poisoning may not be apparent for up to 72 hours after exposure.

Furthermore, safety experts anticipate that more hand sanitizers will be recalled in the near future. They recommend checking the FDA’s recall list before making any purchases, and keeping watch for any new recalls that may be added to the list.

The FDA's List of Recalled Hand Sanitizer Products

Here is a list of some of the recalled hand sanitizer brands and products:

Eskbiochem’s All-Clean

Eskbiochem’s Lavar 70 Gel

Eskbiochem’s Esk Biochem

Eskbiochem’s The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel

Eskbiochem’s CleanCare NoGerm Advanced

Eskbiochem’s Saniderm Advanced

DEPQ Internacional S de RL de CV 9, Bikaab Inc

Dgreen Advanced Sanitizer Alcohol Free

Dgreen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Antibacterial Gel

Grupo Insoma’s Hand Sanitizer Gel Unscented 70% Alcohol

Mystic International’s Mystic Shield Protection

Healthy Foods and Nutrition Lab de Mexico SA de CV

Cosmeticas’ Antiseptic Alcohol 70% Topical Solution

Cosmeticas’ Bersih Hand Sanitizer Gel Fragrance Free

Tropicosmeticos’ Be Safe

Tropicosmeticos’ Cleaner Rinse Free 70%

Tropicosmeticos’ Handzer Rinse Free

Tropicosmeticos’ Urbane Bath and Body

Tropicosmeticos’ Britz Hand Sanitizer Ethyl Alcohol 70%

Tropicosmeticos’ Parabola

Tropicosmeticos’ Kleanz Antibacterial

Incredible Produces SA de CV, Pacific Coast Global Inc.

Tritanium Labs LLC

AAA Cosmetica’s QualitaMed Hand Sanitizer

AAA Cosmetica’s LumiSkin Advance Hand Sanitizer 4 oz

Spartan Chemical Co. Inc.

4E Global’s Blumen Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear Ethyl Alcohol 70%

4E Global’s Blumen Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer with 70% Alcohol

4E Global’s BLUMEN Advanced

4E Global’s BLUMEN Advanced Instant

4E Global’s Blumen Antibacterial Fresh Citrus

4E Global’s BLUMEN Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer

4E Global’s BLUMEN Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer

4E Global’s Blumen Hand Sanitizer Fresh Citrus

4E Global’s BLUMEN Instant Hand Sanitizer

4E Global’s Hello Kitty Hand Sanitizer

4E Global’s The Honeykeeper Hand Sanitizer

4E Global’s Assured Aloe

4E Global’s KLAR and DANVER Instant Hand Sanitizer

4E Global’s MODESA Instant Hand Sanitizer Moisturizers and Vitamin E

DDI Multinacional’s Earths Amenities Instant Unscented Hand Sanitizer with Aloe Vera Advanced

DDI Multinacional’s Hand Sanitizer Agavespa Skincare

DDI Multinacional’s Vidanos Easy Cleaning Rentals Hand Sanitizer Agavespa Skincare

Limpo Quimicos’ Andy’s

Limpo Quimicos’ Andy’s Best

Limpo Quimicos’ NeoNatural

Limpo Quimicos’ Plus Advanced

Liqesa Exportacion or Liq-E’s Optimus Lubricants Instant Hand Sanitizer

JG Atlas Comercios SA de CV

Maquiladora Miniara’s Selecto Hand Sanitizer

Maquiladora Miniara’s Shine and Clean

Cosmeticas’ Hand Sanitizer Gel Alcohol 70%

Yara Elena De La Garza Perez Nieto’s DAESI

Quimica Magna de Mexico SA de CV, Inflatables LLC

Real Clean Distribuciones’ Cavalry

Real Clean Distribuciones’ ENLIVEN

Real Clean Distribuciones’ Lux Eoi

Real Clean Distribuciones’ Born Basic Anti-Bac

Real Clean Distribuciones’ Scent Theory – Keep It Clean – Pure Clean Anti-bacterial Hand Sanitizer

Real Clean Distribuciones’ Scent Theory – Keep It Clean – Pure Clean Anti-bacterial Hand Sanitizer

Roque Plast SA de CV

MXL Comercial’s Hand Sanitizer Disinfectant Gel 70% Ethyl Alcohol

Liqesa Exportacion or Liq-E’s Optimus Instant Hand Sanitizer

Broncolin’s Herbacil Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer 70% Alcohol

Laboratorios Jaloma’s Jaloma Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer Ethyl Alcohol 62% with Vitamin E

Leiper’s Fork Distillery Bulk Disinfectant per 5-gallon

Leiper’s Fork Distillery 16-oz.

For a complete and updated list of recalled hand sanitizer brands, visit the FDA’s website.

Should I File a Hand Sanitizer Lawsuit?

If you have experienced symptoms from methanol absorption, the FDA encourages you to report the issues through their MedWatch Adverse Even Reporting program. They also urge those exposed to seek immediate medical treatment. If you have used one of these defective products, you may be eligible for a hand sanitizer lawsuit.

If you’ve experienced these symptoms after using recalled hand sanitizer, it’s imperative that you seek medical assistance. Contact our Houston product liability lawyers to see how we can help. Call 713-224-9000, or send us a message online to have our attorneys review your case. The lawyers at The Callahan Law Firm have been helping people injured by defective products for over 25 years. They have a deep understanding of the complexities of defective products claims and will work tirelessly to fight for justice in your hand sanitizer lawsuit and ensure that the product manufacturers are held accountable for their negligence.