FDA Urges Disposal of Contaminated Sanitizer; One Brand Sold at Area Retailer

by Elizabeth Pitts-Hibbard

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added more products to the list of recalled hand sanitizers due to the presence of methanol, including one brand that has been identified as being sold at Walmart in Duncan.

There are currently 87 products on the list and many have been placed on an import alert to prevent them from being brought to the United States. A document on Walmart’s corporate website identified that Scent Theory “Keep Clean” Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer was sold at the store in Duncan.

Methanol – or wood alcohol – is a substance often used in the manufacture of fuel and antifreeze and can be toxic if absorbed through the skin and life-threatening if ingested. Some effects are blindness, cardiac issues, central nervous system issues, and death.

“Practicing good hand hygiene, which includes using alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available, is an important public health tool for all Americans to employ. Consumers must also be vigilant about which hand sanitizers they use, and for their health and safety we urge consumers to immediately stop using all hand sanitizers on the FDA’s list of dangerous hand sanitizer products,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. “We remain extremely concerned about the potential serious risks of alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing methanol. Producing, importing and distributing toxic hand sanitizers poses a serious threat to the public and will not be tolerated. The FDA will take additional action as necessary and will continue to provide the latest information on this issue for the health and safety of consumers.”

The FDA has posted a full list of dangerous hand sanitizer products on its website, and in many cases methanol does not appear on the product label. The FDA website reported that methanol was present in amounts from 1% to 80%.

Consumers who have purchased the product are urged to immediately stop using it and dispose of the bottle in a hazardous waste container or other means recommended by local waste management. It should not be flushed or poured down drains.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages frequent hand-washing and recommends use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available, and says that consumers should use sanitizer that is 60% ethanol (also called ethyl alcohol).

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