Hand sanitizers contaminated with methanol
The new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has led to an increasing demand of hand sanitizers. Nevertheless, not all hand sanitizers made available in the market are safe. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a public warning to consumers and health care providers for possible contamination of hand sanitizers with methanol. The FDA advises the public not to use such hand sanitizers, because methanol is a dangerous and toxic substance.


Methanol occurs naturally in humans, animals and plants and is used industrially as a solvent, pesticide and alternative fuel source. Nevertheless, this substance is considered a toxic alcohol that can be absorbed by inhalation, ingestion, skin contact or eye contact.

Exposure to substantial amounts of methanol may lead to toxic symptoms like nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system and death. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these adverse health effects caused by methanol may take between one hour and three days to appear. There are reports of several adverse effects such as blindness, hospitalizations and even death, occurred in adults and children that ingested hand sanitizer products contaminated with methanol.


The U.S. is one of the largest markets for hand hygiene products in the world. Hand sanitizers are over-the-counter (OTC) drugs regulated by the FDA. The FDA does not allow the use of methanol as an active ingredient for hand sanitizers and states that it should not be used because of its toxic effects. Some samples of hand sanitizers available in the U.S. market have been tested by the FDA and found to include methanol and no ethyl alcohol (listed in the label). Consequently, the FDA issued a public warning to consumers and health care professionals for possible contamination of hand sanitizers with methanol. Several hand sanitizers have been recalled by the FDA and the agency is working together with manufacturers and distributors on a voluntary recall of products contaminated with methanol.

The CDC is advising people who have been exposed to hand sanitizers containing methanol (including swallowing it) and are experiencing symptoms to seek immediate medical attention and to contact the respective poison center for advice.

The FDA advises consumers to observe thoroughly hand sanitizer’s labels, taking special attention in order to identify a product that:

  • Has been tested by the FDA and found to contain methanol;
  • Is being recalled by the manufacturer or distributor;
  • Is purportedly made at the same facility as products that have been tested by the FDA and found to contain methanol.

The FDA has published a list of hand sanitizers that have tested positive for methanol and advises consumers not to use hand sanitizers from those companies or products with those names or NDC numbers.

If soap and water are not readily available, consumers should use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol. It is crucial to choose safe and effective hand sanitizers, as well as it is imperative to know how to use them properly. Consumers should assure they are following the warnings and precautions described on the label. It is also important to be aware of products marketed as “FDA-approved”, since there are no hand sanitizers approved by the FDA.


1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration – FDA Updates on Hand Sanitizers with Methanol. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-updates-hand-sanitizers-methanol#products

2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration – Q&A for Consumers: Hand Sanitizers and COVID-19. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/information-drug-class/qa-consumers-hand-sanitizers-and-covid-19

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) – Methanol: Systemic Agent. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/ershdb/emergencyresponsecard_29750029.html


cosmetic products

New Amendments to the European Cosmetics Regulation – CMR Substances

The European Commission published the Commission Regulation (EU) 2022/1531, which amends Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 in regards to the use in cosmetic products of certain substances classified as CMR. This amendment introduces new entries to Annex II and Annex III and revises an entry to Annex V to Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009.

Read More »
medical devices

EUDAMED – harmonized practices and alternative solutions for IVDR until the database is fully functional

EUDAMED is one of the key aspects of the new rules on in vitro diagnostic medical devices – Regulation (EU) 2017/746. However, it is only expected to achieve full functionality by the second quarter of 2024. Until then, how is the information submitted and/or exchanged between manufacturers, notified bodies and competent authorities?

Read More »
medical devices

EUDAMED – update on timelines

EUDAMED is one of the key aspects of the new rules on medical devices (Regulation (EU) 2017/745) and in vitro diagnostic medical devices (Regulation (EU) 2017/746), and it is expected to achieve full functionality by the second quarter of 2024.

Read More »
cosmetic products

UK OPSS call for data on six cosmetic ingredients

On 14 July 2022, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS – the UK regulator for cosmetic products) issued a call for data on the safety of the following six cosmetic ingredients to investigate any suspected endocrine disrupting properties. 

Read More »
cosmetic products

European Commission Recommendation on the Definition of Nanomaterial

Nanomaterials are increasingly used in cosmetics and personal care products. They are similar to other chemicals/substances, but with specific risks associated to their use. The European Commission has published a new Recommendation to clarify the definition of ‘nanomaterial’. This definition may serve different policy, legislative and research purposes when addressing materials or issues concerning products of nanotechnologies.

Read More »
cosmetic products

Expected Restriction on the Use of Methyl Salicylate

The European Commission has notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of a draft amendment to the Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009 on cosmetic products. Annex III to Regulation will be amended, and the use of Methyl Salicylate in cosmetic products will be restricted.

Read More »