Hand sanitisers that are effective against the coronavirus are those that include at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol. But there are a few brands that use methanol, a more toxic type of alcohol, and the U.S. FDA recently issued a warning not to use them.
The methanol-containing sanitiser are all made by Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico. These are the brand names and national drug codes to look out for:
- All-Clean Hand Sanitiser (NDC: 74589-002-01)
- Esk Biochem Hand Sanitiser (NDC: 74589-007-01)
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitiser 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-008-04)
- Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitiser (NDC: 74589-006-01)
- The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitiser (NDC: 74589-010-10)
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitiser 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-005-03)
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitiser 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-009-01)
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitiser 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-003-01)
- Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitiser (NDC: 74589-001-01)
If you have any of these hand sanitisers, don’t use them. The FDA asks that you not pour them down the drain, however; instead dispose of them in “appropriate hazardous waste containers.” (We’ve reached out to the FDA to ask what exactly this means, and whether it’s ok to just put your bottle of sanitiser in the trash. We’ll update if they respond.)
Methanol poisoning might occur if you use these sanitisers on your skin frequently or in large amounts, but it’s more likely if the sanitiser is ingested. This could include children getting into the sanitiser, or teens or adults ingesting it thinking it contains ethanol (you can get drunk off of regular hand sanitiser, although attempting to do so is an absolutely a terrible idea).
Symptoms of methanol poisoning, according to the FDA, include “nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death.” If you’ve used one of these offending brands and are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical care right away.