FDA warns against using two dozen hand sanitizers that could contain toxic wood alcohol

The Food and Drug Administration has added more hand sanitizers to its growing list of products that contain wood alcohol, which is toxic if absorbed through the skin.

More than two dozen various hand sanitizers sold by the Mexico-based company 4E Global — many carrying the Blumen label — contain high levels of methanol, or wood alcohol, and have been recommended for recall.

The FDA said it has seen an increase in products containing ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol, that tested positive for potentially poisonous methanol contamination — which can be life-threatening if ingested.

States have also reported cases of blindness, hospitalizations and deaths in adults and children after drinking hand sanitizer products tainted with methanol, the agency said.

There are now 55 varieties of hand sanitizers on the FDA’s list of toxic products. Nearly all of them were manufactured in Mexico.

Wood alcohol is used in antifreeze and fuel production. Exposure can also cause nausea, headaches, dizziness, agitation, amnesia, coma and seizures, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Proper hand hygiene is an effective response to Covid-19, the CDC says, and the agency recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol.