Hand sanitizer has become an integral part of the COVID-19 health toolbox, especially when soap and water is not available. However, some brands of hand sanitizers pose a new threat to our health.
Increased demand during the pandemic has caused shortages of well-known U.S. brands, and now many new companies are selling hand sanitizer products that contain methanol, commonly known as wood alcohol. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has recalled and imposed import bans on dozens of brands found to contain the toxic chemical. It also is working with major retailers to pull those products off shelves. Methanol exposure, primarily from swallowing it, can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness or damage to the nervous system, and even death.