For the past several weeks there has been some important information on the immediate recall of several brands of hand sanitizers that contain undisclosed and dangerous Methanol vs. Ethanol in hand sanitizers that are being purchased by the public.
Methanol vs. Ethanol Hand Sanitizers
Methanol is extremely dangerous to ingest in any form (including through the skin) and in this post I’m sharing references and tips I hope will help keep you safe, and empowered as we move forward.
This is a recall that is currently happening in the U.S., however if you live in another country you may still want to check into the hand sanitizer products within your area. And this post will also give great general information for self care.
Unfortunately when a high demand occurs, some people get greedy and produce products to make money, but not for public health. The hand sanitizers that are out waiting to be recalled don’t list the methanol as an ingredient. So this means that people have no idea what they are buying and using unless they have a toxic reaction.
What is Methanol?
Methanol (which is being used in the recall hand sanitizers) is toxic to humans. “… exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death. Although people using these products on their hands are at risk for methanol poisoning, young children who ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute are most at risk. Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer continuing methanol and are experiencing symptoms should see immediate medical treatment for potential reversal of the toxic effects of methanol poisoning. (1)
What is Ethanol?
“… Ethanol, also called alcohol, ethyl alcohol and grain alcohol, is a clear colorless liquid and the principle ingredient in alcoholic beverages like beer, wine or brandy. Because it can readily dissolve in water and other organic compounds, ethanol also is an ingredient in a range of products, from personal care and beauty products to paints and varnishes to fuel. Ethanol is a natural byproduct of plant fermentation and also can be produced through they hydration of ethylene.” (2)
What to do if a business or someone else want’s to give you a hand sanitizer?
Businesses are doing their very best right now to follow protocols to keep their customers and themselves safe, but if you’re a business owner you may be going through gallons of hand sanitizers right now.
It makes sense that businesses may be searching for the least expensive and accessible brands of hand sanitizer they can find to meet the safety and health requirements and remain open for business.
Because in most cases the ingredient of methanol is not listed on the product. you may not know until you use a hand sanitizer and experience a toxic reaction.
Here are a couple a couple of emails I receive this week after sharing this information with my community:
“Thank you Maria for this amazing informative email, I was unaware of this until reading what you shared here, two weeks ago I was at a jewelry store and wanted to try on a ring the clerk squirted almost a tablespoon of hand sanitizer in to my hands, I immediately became ill. I had to abruptly leave the store as I was so nauseous and felt faint and out of breathe, soon had stomach cramps followed by diarrhea, which was like a liver flush just straight bile. Went home rested felt better, after reading your email I will be much more careful.” ~ K, CA.
“Hi Maria, Thank you for this information. This was lightly covered on the news and I had looked at the expanded list and found the sanitizer I purchased at target was on the list . I plan to return it.” ~ M, CA.
“Maria, I had no idea. I also didn’t realize that hand sanitizers are regulated by the FDA as a drug. Thank you for your reminder’s here about ingesting through our skin. This is important to remember for my myself, husband and my small children. I will continue to research. Yay to plenty of soapy lather and water!” ~ C, VA.
Conscious and aware of what we’re using on our body and our family
We need to be conscious and aware about what we’re using on our bodies, because we absorb everything we use. The skin is the largest organ of the body. Anything you put on it, your body has to process.
This is just a great reminder for now because we want to stay safe during this COVID-19 pandemic, but also at all otters times in our life as well.
Stores are required right now to have accessibility to hand sanitizers for their employees and their customers.
- But you can bring your own sanitizer instead of using theirs.
- You can also choose to wear gloves.
Please Review the FDA “Do Not Use” List
- The FDA has created an expanded “Do not use” list and are still updating this list as they find more products are being reported with methanol. Again, if ingredients are not being honestly labeled, then the FDA will only be able to update their list if people come forward with any experiences they have with the brands they are using.
Just last week the FDA encourages health care professionals, consumers and patients to report adverse events or quality problems experienced with the use of hand sanitizers to FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program (please provide the agency with as much information to identify the product as possible). You can find all this information HERE.
Using hand sanitizer effectively
Using safe hand sanitizer of at least 60% alcohol (ethanol) helps to reduce bacterial counts on hands.
- It’s important that after you apply the hand sanitizer that you rub your hands with friction covering all area’s of your hands. In the same way you properly wash hands, you want to rub your palms, tops of hands, in between the webs of all fingers and your finger tips.
- Not only does the friction act to reduce the bacteria on your hands, but it also allows the sanitizer to dry which is essential for effectiveness.
If you put an alcohol based (ethanol of at least 60%) hand sanitizer on quickly, and don’t take the time to rub it on all parts of your hand, it won’t be effective at killing the germs that contribute to colds and flu’s. If your hands are wet the germs will stick to them. It’s also good to know that if your hands are greasy, or dirty putting hand sanitizer on them is not effective. You still need to wash your hands with lathered up soap and water first. And fully dry your hands of all moisture.
- If you’d like to read more about using hand sanitizers effectively and safely please view:
It’s also important to note that hand sanitizers are a drug.
There are also concerns that consistent use of hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps can contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In April 2019 The “FDA issues final rule on safety and effectiveness of consumer hand sanitizers.”
(If you’re not allergic) Research and explore the many antiviral benefits of Essential Oils:
We’re most likely going to be going through several phases of this virus as it rises and falls and rises again. For general well-being essential oils are a great addition to our lifestyle. Some people do have allergic reactions to essential oils. And as with everything, if you are pregnant, or nursing or on certain medications essential oils may not be advised and you should always check with your primary care physician for any interactions.
Also, it’s good to be aware that as with all products essential oil companies vary in their organic ingredients and preparations. Always check out ingredients, reputation and preparation.
There are many books written on essential oils and studies continue to be done on their variety of health properties and effectiveness.
Virus antiviral properties of essential oils: Here are some articles to get you started in your research.
I hope this information helps keep you understand more about methanol vs. ethanol in hand sanitizers and will help keep you and your loved ones safe, informed and feeling empowered.
Do you have great ways to keep your hands clean when out in the world? In fact, if you have a favorite essential oil please share in the comments at the bottom of the page. I’m always looking to expand my knowledge of great products and it’s a great way to share with others as well. Thank you for being here!