The US Food and Drug Administration has warned the general public and healthcare professionals against serious toxicity in sanitiser products containing methanol. Methanol, which is a substance often used to create fuel and antifreeze, is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitiser products. This can be toxic when absorbed through the skin as well as life- threatening when ingested or consumed orally, the FDA said in a public statement on Friday.
There are a number of hand sanitiser products that are labelled as containing ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination, the FDA said.
Ethyl alcohol-based hand sanitiser products are increasingly sold in India and no warning or safety alerts described on their label. Neither the manufacturers nor the Indian regulators have alerted local consumers against the methanol contamination and these serious side effects.
The FDA and State officials in the US have also reported several recent adverse events from adults and children ingesting hand sanitiser products contaminated with methanol, including blindness, hospitalisations and death.