FDA Issues Alert on Hand Sanitizers Imported From Mexico Amid Safety Concerns

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
January 28, 2021Health
FDA Issues Alert on Hand Sanitizers Imported From Mexico Amid Safety Concerns
The headquarters of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seen in Silver Spring, Md., on Nov. 4, 2009. (Jason Reed/AP-File)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an import alert on alcohol-based hand sanitizers from Mexico amid serious safety concerns.

“Under the import alert, alcohol-based hand sanitizers from Mexico offered for import are subject to heightened FDA scrutiny, and FDA staff may detain the shipment,” a statement from the agency posted on Tuesday reads.

“As part of their entry review, FDA staff will consider any specific evidence offered by importers or manufacturers that the hand sanitizers were manufactured according to U.S. current good manufacturing practice requirements.”

The FDA announced the import alert after an analysis on hand sanitizers from Mexico concluded 84 percent of samples analyzed by the agency from April Through December weren’t in compliance with the agency’s regulations.

“More than half of the samples were found to contain toxic ingredients, including methanol and/or 1-propanol, at dangerous levels,” the FDA stated.

The FDA has since updated a list of hand sanitizers the agency advised consumers not to use, which includes products containing toxic ingredients like methanol and/or 1-propanol.

The agency added that in many cases, methanol did not appear as an ingredient on the products’ label, even though samples showed the product containing the toxic ingredient.

Being exposed to methanol-contaminated hand sanitizer can lead to a variety of adverse health effects like nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system, or death, FDA officials wrote in the statement.

“Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer contaminated with methanol and are experiencing symptoms should contact their local poison control center and seek immediate medical treatment for potential reversal of the toxic effects of methanol poisoning,” the FDA advised.

People who use methanol-contaminated products on their hands are already at risk for poisoning, the agency said, stressing that people, especially young children, who might ingest these products accidentally, or adults who drink these products as an alcohol substitute are at most risk.

“The availability of poor-quality products with dangerous and unacceptable ingredients will not be tolerated,” FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs Judy McMeekin said.

The alert comes as people consuming hand sanitizers has dramatically increased amid the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic, commonly referred to as the novel coronavirus. It is the first time any category of drug is halted by the FDA in a nationwide import alert.

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.