The list of recalled hand sanitizers is growing. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has named dozens that contain methanol, which can cause blindness or hospitalizations if absorbed through skin.
A consumer watchdog tells us these products are not FDA approved. That's because in March, the agency allowed companies that never made hand sanitizer to make it in order to meet demand. They just had to agree to follow the rules.
“So, guess what happened? Some of them didn't follow the rules, either intentionally or unintentionally, and so then, they started getting reports from the poison control centers of people getting sick from methanol in hand sanitizer instead of ethanol,” said Teresa Murray with U.S. PIRG.
Murray says many of the recalled products have been made in Mexico. But as part of the temporary guidelines, companies don't have to disclose where the sanitizers were manufactured. So, it's hard for consumers to tell which products might be dangerous.
Murray says if you can't tell where the product was made, don't buy it and don't use it if it's already in your home. To be safe, stick with brand names you recognize for now.
Murray has found most stores and online retailers have pulled products on the FDA list, but you should still be careful depending on where you shop.
“I would caution anyone from buying anything that's on an end-cap clearance aisle, or anything that's from a super discount store,” said Murray. “There may be a reason why one of the mainstream retailers is no longer selling it.”
Murray says it's always important to keep hand sanitizers out of reach for kids and pets, but now, even more so.
If ingested, methanol can cause even more health problems.