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Methanol and 1-Propanol Contamination in Certain Hand Sanitizer Products

Certain hand sanitizers labeled with ethanol (ethyl alcohol) or isopropyl alcohol as the primary ingredient have been found to contain subpotent concentrations of these ingredients or to contain methanol or 1-propanol  instead. This finding has led to adverse events including blindness, hospitalizations, and death. Methanol and 1-propanol are not acceptable ingredients for hand sanitizers and should be avoided due to toxicity associated with their use. Methanol and 1-propanol can have toxic or life-threatening effects if absorbed through the skin or ingested.

Symptoms of methanol toxicity include nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, blindness, seizures, coma, permanent neurologic effects, or death. Ingesting 1-propanol can cause confusion, decreased consciousness, slowed pulse and breathing, or death. Skin exposure can cause irritation or allergic reactions. Those at high risk of methanol or 1-propanol poisoning include children, adolescents, and adults who may ingest contaminated products. Persons with possible or suspected exposure to methanol- or 1-propanol-contaminated hand sanitizer who are experiencing symptoms should seek immediate medical attention. FDA recommends reporting adverse events or quality problems to the FDA MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.

FDA continues to investigate methanol and 1-propanol contamination in certain hand sanitizers and has a list of tested and recalled products on their website that is being updated daily. FDA is also adding subpotent hand sanitizers to this list. Do not use any product on this list with potential methanol or 1-propanol contamination.

Additional information is available at the following links: