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Yet another hand sanitizer is recalled over methanol contamination

Published May 13th, 2021 7:20PM EDT
hand sanitizer recall
Image: Brandon/Adobe

The market for hand sanitizer absolutely exploded last year, and for good reason. The coronavirus pandemic made hand sanitizer not just a nice thing to have, but an absolute necessity for many, and it flew off store shelves so fast that it was virtually impossible to find for months. At the time, a lot of companies jumped at the chance to make a quick buck and produce their own hand sanitizer, even if they were never in the business to begin with, and we began to see a ton of recalls for hand sanitizer that was tainted with far more dangerous things that simple alcohol.

Now, a new recall bulletin posted by the FDA announces that yet another random hand sanitizer brand has apparently been slinging hand sanitizer that is tainted with methanol. Methanol, unlike alcohol, can lead to toxic exposure through the skin. Symptoms can include headache and nausea but more serious things like blindness, coma, nervous system damage, and even death can come as a result of exposure.

The brands, which are called DIBAR Labs Hand Sanitizer and ProtectoRX Hand Sanitizer, were produced by Dibar Nutricional S. de R.L. de C.V. of Mexico. The product was sold in bottles ranging from 2oz to 16oz. A total of nearly 30 lots of hand sanitizers are subject to recall, and the FDA is advising anyone that purchased the product to avoid using it and return it to where it was purchased.

Via the FDA:

These products are used as hand sanitizers and marketed to help decrease bacteria on the skin when soap and water are not available. The affected bottles of hand sanitizer include a twelve digit lot code printed on the bottle near the base. The products can be identified by the label, scent, and lot code provided in the table at the end of this release. These products were distributed nationwide in the USA through S.E.N.D. LLC and its customers (Table 1). Products labeled as ProtectoRx Hand Sanitizer were distributed in Puerto Rico through PR TRADING LLC and its customers (Table 2.).

The inclusion of methanol makes them toxic, and the list of potential health effects is long and, to be honest, pretty scary:

Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system, or death. Although all persons using these products on their hands are at risk, young children who accidentally ingest the products and adolescents and adults who drink the products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute are most at risk for methanol poisoning.

If you purchased any of this recalled hand sanitizer you should immediately stop using it and return it for a refund. The company doesn’t say how it came to ship methanol-tainted hand sanitizer, but this isn’t exactly the first time it has happened.

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