WASHINGTON - A dozen hand sanitizers have been added to the Food and Drug Administration's rolling list of dangerous cleansers that have been recalled due to the presence of a toxic chemical.
As of July 28, 87 hand sanitizers have tested positive for methanol, a substance often used to create fuel and antifreeze that can be poisonous if absorbed through the skin and potentially fatal if ingested, according to the FDA's latest update. A majority of the products appear to have been manufactured in Mexico, with recalls issued by the manufacturer or distributor.
The FDA is urging consumers not to use any hand sanitizer products from any of the listed manufacturers even if the product or particular lot number is not included in the recall "since some manufacturers are recalling only certain – but not all – of their hand sanitizer products," the FDA said.
To address the issue, the FDA is proactively working with manufacturers to recall products and urging distributors and retailers to "immediately" stop distributing and selling the gel cleansers due to the risk of methanol poisoning.
As of July 23, the FDA's list had already climbed to 75 cleansers.
“We remain extremely concerned about the potential serious risks of alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing methanol," said FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen M. Hahn. "Producing, importing and distributing toxic hand sanitizers poses a serious threat to the public and will not be tolerated."
Failure by the manufacturer to recall all potentially affected products "is placing consumers in danger of methanol poisoning," the agency said, adding that one death has already been associated with Blumen Hand Sanitizer, distributed by 4e North America and manufactured by 4E Global in Mexico, which expanded its recall to other lots of its products.
The agency also sent a warning letter to Eskbiochem S.A. de C.V., another manufacturer listed, "regarding the distribution of products labeled as manufactured at its facilities with undeclared methanol, misleading claims –including incorrectly stating that FDA approved these products—and improper manufacturing practices."
4e North America did not immediately respond to FOX Business' requests for comment. Eskbiochem S.A. de C.V could not be reached for comment.
The FDA has been rapidly adding to its do-not-use list of dangerous hand sanitizer products since June when the regulator observed an increase in hand sanitizers that purportedly contained ethanol but tested positive for methanol contamination.
To date, the FDA’s ongoing testing found methanol contamination in hand sanitizer products ranged from 1 to 80 percent.
In most cases, the toxic chemical does not appear on the label, according to the FDA. However, "methanol is not an acceptable ingredient in any drug, including hand sanitizer, even if methanol is listed as an ingredient on the product label," the agency said.
Substantial exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death, according to the FDA. Consumers experiencing symptoms should seek "immediate treatment," the agency said.
The FDA’s investigation into the methanol contamination is ongoing. Its full list of recalled products, which will be updated as more information becomes available, can be viewed on the agency's website.