Hand sanitizer is a big, big deal right now. And a lot of new manufacturers have jumped on the sanitizer bandwagon, hoping to scoop up some of the revenue. Good for them. But in their attempts to claim their piece of the sanitizer gold rush, something they’re doing is poisoning people instead of protecting them.
It’s the packaging; hand sanitizer is being packaged in containers resembling water bottles, vodka bottles, beer cans, snack bags, and other food and drink products. Some even have raspberry or chocolate flavors—some containers are plastered with fun cartoons and nice, bright color labels.
In other words, these products don’t look like hand sanitizer at all.
And people are being poisoned.
“It’s dangerous to add scents with food flavors to hand sanitizers which children could think smells like food, eat and get alcohol poisoning,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn. “Manufacturers should be vigilant about packaging and marketing their hand sanitizers in food or drink packages in an effort to mitigate any potential inadvertent use by consumers.”
Ingesting even a small amount of hand sanitizer can be lethal—especially for children.
The FDA has just issued a press release warning consumers to beware of hand sanitizers sold in packages resembling food and drink containers.
Hand sanitizer poisoning can cause cardiac events, affect the central nervous system, require hospitalization, and even cause death. The FDA is asking health care professionals and consumers who are affected by these products to report them to its MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.
On July 17, the FDA issued a list of nearly 60 brands of hand sanitizer on the shelves that contained the toxic ingredient methanol; on August 4, the list expanded to 100 brands. On August 12, the agency updated the list to include products manufactured in Mexico containing another toxic substance, 1-propanol. The FDA is continuously updating the list. “The FDA continues to monitor [hand sanitizers] and we’ll take appropriate actions as needed to protect the health of Americans,” the agency stated.
The FDA is working with manufacturers and retailers to get these products off store shelves—but consumers need to pay attention, read the labels, and keep these and other dangerous products up and out of the reach of children.
GET HELP: If you or someone you know is poisoned, call the American Association of Poison Control Center’s Poison Control Hotline immediately: (800) 222-1222.
FDA Guidelines: “Safely Using Hand Sanitizer”
Bonus: Do You Use Hand Sanitizer the Right Way? Take this Test From the FDA!