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Hand sanitizer recalled because it has methanol in it

Published Dec 28th, 2020 5:17PM EST
hand sanitizer recall
Image: Brandon/Adobe

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  • A company that presumably just started making hand sanitizer recently has been forced to recall its product due to the presence of methanol. 
  • Methanol exposure can carry some very serious risks, including nervous system damage and even death. 
  • In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, many companies began distributing hand sanitizer with no prior experience.

A company called Shane Erickson, Inc. DBA Innovative Marketing Consultants has been forced to recall three different products due to potential health concerns. What could a marketing consultant company possibly have produced that would warrant a recall? Hand sanitizer. Yeah.

In a recall bulletin posted by the FDA, the company (which may or may not be one guy running the distribution, we can’t really be sure from the website, which sells branded promotional products and other assorted odds and ends) reveals that Innovative Marketing Consultants-branded wash-free hand sanitizer and Thrifty White Pharmacy wash-free hand sanitizer may contain wood alcohol or methanol. That’s pretty scary since methanol exposure can lead to a variety of health issues, up to and including death.

The recall bulletin notes:

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 these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk for methanol poisoning.

When the coronavirus pandemic first struck, hand sanitizer was in very short supply. Many stores were completely out of the product as customers stockpiled it in anticipation of months of diligent hand-cleaning. It was a bad situation all around, but as is often the case, there were dozens or perhaps even hundreds of companies that tried to fill the need, for better or worse.

We’ve already seen a ton of hand sanitizer recalls this year due to the presence of various harmful ingredients, including methanol, so this recall isn’t really a surprise. When companies jump at the chance to capitalize on a hot-selling product, they may end up sourcing that product from places where quality can’t be assured.

It’s impossible to tell in any one case what the motivation to get into the hand sanitizer market was. If it was simply an attempt to fill a need and assist in importing the product and getting it to people who needed it, that’s great. If it was solely a profit-seeking venture where corners were cut in the name of the almighty dollar, well, that’s pretty lame.

Whatever the case, this particular hand sanitizer has methanol in it, and you absolutely shouldn’t use it. A statement by the company says that while nobody has reported any issues with the product, nobody should use it going forward. If you happen to have any of this hand sanitizer in your home, you are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a refund. Additional company contact information is available on the FDA’s recall bulletin page.