July 17, 2020

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about hand sanitizer products labeled as containing ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination. Methanol (i.e., methyl alcohol or wood alcohol) is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and can be life-threatening when ingested.

As per the FDA news update below, “Methanol is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due to its toxic effects. FDA’s investigation of methanol in certain hand sanitizers is ongoing. The agency will provide more information as it becomes available.”  

For more information and the list of known products identified by the FDA, please see the full FDA news update on hand sanitizers with methanol. Stop the use of products identified on the list immediately. Dispose of them in a safe and proper manner.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing hands with soap and water whenever possible. Handwashing reduces the amounts of all types of germs and chemicals on hands. But if soap and water are not available, the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol.