Beware of Toxic Hand Sanitizers
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning of potentially dangerous hand sanitizers currently marketed for protection against the spread of COVID-19. To date, more than 100 brands of hand sanitizers have been recalled. The latest recall warns of toxic hand sanitizers that are contaminated with 1-propanol, a toxin that can cause life-threatening reactions when ingested.
The FDA has recalled certain brands of toxic hand sanitizers that consumers should avoid. Certain products, including those made by Harmonic Nature in Mexico, contain a dangerous component that can harm adults and children. According to FDA warnings, young children who accidentally ingest the products, as well as adolescents and adults who may drink them as a substitute for alcohol, are at greater risk of injury and death. Product labels say they contain ethanol or isopropyl alcohol, but products have tested positive for 1-propanol, a known toxic ingredient.
The FDA warns that ingesting 1-propanol can damage the central nervous system and cause a variety of serious conditions that may lead to death. Symptoms of 1-propanol exposure include:
- Breathing difficulties
- Slowed pulse rate
- Mental confusion
- Loss of consciousness
- Eye and skin irritations
- Allergic reactions
Most hand sanitizers flagged by the FDA are manufactured in Mexico and contaminated with methanol, also known as wood alcohol. When swallowed or absorbed through the skin, wood alcohol can be deadly, especially to young children. Since May, 26 people were hospitalized and 4 people died after ingesting hand sanitizer containing methanol in Arizona. In June, the New Mexico Department of Health reported three people who were critically injured, three deaths, and one person who suffered permanent blindness from methanol poisoning.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health officials accept hand sanitizers as an adequate substitute for handwashing as protection against COVID-19, the growing use of unsafe hand sanitizers has led to a rise in accidental poisonings seen by personal injury lawyers. According to the National Poison Control Center, there was a 59% spike in calls to the 55 poison control centers around the country in July. This accounts for more than 18,000 cases of accidental poisoning, and 12,000 cases involved children who were five years old and younger.