FDA Expands Dangerous Hand Sanitizer List to 163, Adds New Criteria
The FDA has expanded its list of potentially harmful hand sanitizer products, as well as adding a new component that qualifies a product for the list.
Previously, the list only included products containing methanol or manufactured in facilities containing methanol, but it now includes the ingredient 1-propanol.
“1-propanol, not to be confused with 2-propanol/isopropanol/isopropyl alcohol, is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizer products marketed in the United States, and can be toxic and life-threatening when ingested,” the FDA update said.
Ingesting 1-propanol can result in central nervous system depression and death, and also causes symptoms such as confusion, decreased consciousness, and slow pulse and breathing. The FDA has found that the central nervous system depression effects are two to four times more potent than alcohol.
In the U.S., manufacturers in North Carolina, Utah, Georgia and Texas have joined the list of producers largely from Mexico.
In addition to potentially harmful chemicals in hand sanitizer, the list now specifies certain products contain “sub potent” isopropyl alcohol levels, meaning there is not enough in it to actually be effective.
Also, one manufacturer from China is facing a recall after a product was listed as “edible alcohol.” Previously, four people died in New Mexico and Arizona as a result of ingesting hand sanitizer as a substitute for drinking alcohol.
“The agency is aware of adults and children ingesting hand sanitizer products contaminated with methanol that has led to recent adverse events including blindness, hospitalizations and death,” the FDA report said.
As always, the FDA also recommends that the best course of action to prevent the spread of disease is handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and using CDC-recommended alcohol-based hand sanitizers that contain at least 60 percent ethanol when handwashing is not an option.
This list now includes 163 products, and will no doubt continue to grow as new products are tested and the FDA continues to monitor what is and isn't safe. During the hand sanitizer shortage as a result of skyrocketing demand, the FDA moved its own goalposts to allow certain amounts of potentially harmful substances to be included. As new information comes out and things progress, there will likely be more rule changes.