Serious Adverse Health Events Associated with Methanol-based Hand Sanitizers

Author: Dr.Nain Zahra (BDS) | Proofread: Dr.Nain Zahra (BDS) | Reviewed:  Muhammad Rehan Mian (MSPH) | July 17, 2020

Methanol, “toxic alcohol”, as an active ingredient in sanitizers can cause, severe side effects when absorbed through the skin or when swallowed. Therefore, FDA has advised not to use Alcohol-based hand sanitizers or rubs (ABHSR) containing methanol. CDC confirmation with the Mexico Department of Health that Significant blood methanol concentrations were detected in all patients who ingested ABHSR. Four of them died.

Recommendations for Clinicians

  • Advise patients to seek medical care on the exposure of methanol containing ABHSR. Clinicians should have a high index of suspicion for methanol poisoning when a patient presents with a history of ABHSR ingestion. Signs and symptoms:
  • Should educate the public to use ABHSR for hand hygiene only.

Recommendations for the Public:

  • Do not swallow any ABHSR.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you have swallowed it & contact the poison center.
  • Only use ABHSR to clean hands.
  • Keep them out of the reach of children
  • Check your hand sanitizer products whether they are approved by Government regulatory bodies or not.

Source: CDC

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