Hand sanitizer has quickly risen to one of the most in-demand products of 2020. Due to the current outbreak of coronavirus, the need to ensure that our hands are disinfected to avoid spreading the deadly virus has become a top priority for a majority of the public.
However, sanitizing products have slowly become harder to find as the pandemic rages on. No doubt due to the demand in the product, but as it turns out, the CDC has also warned against using certain products due to the health risk they pose to the public.
While hand sanitizing gel is commonly made with ethanol (a form of alcohol) which is also found in the alcohol we drink there are certain brands of sanitizing gel that are made with another form of alcohol known as methanol.
Methanol is actually a toxic compound which has been proven to cause severe illness and even death when ingested. The FDA has made a list of over 100 hand sanitizers you should be avoiding that contain this deadly toxin.
While we're not quite sure why anyone would insist on consuming hand sanitizer, some people might find it to be a cheap alternative to actual alcohol... it is never safe to consume these products whether they are made with ethanol or methanol.
A report from the CDC looked at 15 cases where people were admitted to hospital with methanol poising as a direct result of ingesting these methanol-based hand sanitizers. Six of the individuals developed seizures while another 4 were sent hope with significant vision impairment, one 44-year-old patient suffered a nearly total loss of vision. And in another 4 of the cases, the patients being treated actually passed away.
A spokesperson from the CDC stated in an email regarding the issue:
We wanted to specifically look at adverse events related to methanol because it is known to be toxic and potentially life-threatening when ingested
The FDA and the CDC are urging the public against consuming any kinds of hand sanitizing products and disinfectants. These products are not meant to be ingested and you should always follow the instruction found on the labels.