Hand sanitizers containing 60% alcohol are an important weapon against the fight of Covid-19. However, not all alcohols are created equal. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that methanol should not be used in hand sanitizers due to its toxic effects.
Reports of poisoning due to methanol have been issued following repeated use and absorption through the skin or ingestion by mouth. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision or blindness, seizures, coma, and death. Young children who accidentally swallow these products or older children and adults who intentionally swallow them are at highest risk.
It is important to check the labels on your hand sanitizers for the active ingredients and if methanol is listed, please dispose of the products in hazardous waste containers. According to the FDA they should not be flushed or poured down a drain. For a complete list of manufacturers and product names containing methanol follow this link on the FDA website
Washing hands with soap and water is the preferred method of keeping your and your children’s hands clean. However, if soap and water are not available, please supervise children ages 5 and younger while using hand sanitizer and store these products out of your children’s reach.
Please stay safe and healthy!
Petra Hackenberg-Bauer, MD
Anderson Hills Pediatrics, Inc.