It's one of the most common sights all over your workplace, stores you visit, and your home. Hand Sanitizer, it seems to be everywhere. Almost every store I go into has some set up right by the front doors. The need was so great even some local distilleries and breweries were manufacturing their own hand sanitizer.

That huge demand for hand sanitizer may have contributed to this FDA recall of nine different brands and variations of sanitizer that contains methanol or wood alcohol.

When I first saw the recall I thought, "Wait, I thought we needed like 80% alcohol to kill the coronavirus? It's this the same, right?"

The short answer is, no it's not the same. Methanol is the non-drinking type of alcohol, also known as wood alcohol and methyl alcohol, which is mostly used to create fuel, solvents, and antifreeze. It is dangerous to humans and pets according to Chemical Safety Facts.

The type of alcohol that should have been used in these hand sanitizers is ethanol or ethyl alcohol. That's the drinking kind of alcohol that's also used as an ingredient in a range of products, from personal care and beauty products to paints and varnishes to fuel and of course booze according to Chemical Safety Facts.

The FDA has recalled nine different hand sanitizers because they were manufactured with the wrong kind of alcohol. Using them is dangerous because the FDA has reported that "Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death,"

The nine recalled hand sanitizers all manufactured by Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico are:

  • All-Clean Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-002-01)
  • Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-007-01)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-008-04)
  • Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-006-01)
  • The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-010-10)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-005-03)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-009-01)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-003-01)
  • Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-001-01)

The FDA asked Eskbiochem SA to remove its hand sanitizer products from shelves on June 17 but has yet to receive a response from the company.

These brands were sold online and in the Capital Region by several retailers so check your hand sanitizer and if you have one of these on your desk, stop using them immediately. Go to the FDA for more information on the recall.

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