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The FDA warns your hand sanitizer could be poisoning you

Updated: Jul. 19, 2020 at 10:52 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - You might want to check the ingredients in your hand sanitizer.

The FDA warns some brands of hand sanitizer could be contaminated with Methanol. The ingredient is so toxic that even breathing it in can cause serious problems.

“You can have headaches. You can have nausea. You can have vomiting and even seizures,” Dr. Kre Tremble-Johnson owner of Brownstone Health & Aesthetics.

The most severe cases are fatal, according to Dr. Kre. And you won’t always find the ingredient on the label. The FDA reports some hand sanitizers are mislabeled as having ethanol but they actually contain methanol.

What’s the difference?

Ethanol is the only alcohol you can ingest without serious ramifications. It’s usually made from fermented grains; think of alcoholic beverages. The CDC recommends alcohol-based sanitizers contain at least 60 percent ethanol or sometimes called ethyl alcohol.

Methanol is cheaper wood alcohol that can be found in antifreeze and rocket fuel.

“It’s definitely something that we would not want to be continuously exposing our hands and our skin to,” said Dr. Kre.

Because a product has to be tested to determine the ingredients, paying attention to how your body reacts to the product is important. Any product you apply to the skin can be absorbed into the body.

“That’s something to think about. Especially with somebody small,” Dermatologist of Birmingham Owner Dr. Maria Northington said.

Dr. Northington said your skin will warn you something’s not right.

“Itching, dryness, redness, scaling, all of those are signs that your skin is irritated and the barrier is not intact,” Dr. Northington explained.

Any product containing alcohol can dry out the skin so, Dr. Northington said it’s important to moisturize after each use; however, if you’re experiencing physical symptoms along with skin changes, don’t ignore it. The quicker the poison is neutralized by doctors the better.

Another tip: If your bottle of hand sanitizer says “FDA approved” don’t use it. There are no hand sanitizers approved by The FDA.

Click here for specific brands of hand sanitizer the FDA suggests to avoid.

Click here to report suspicious hand sanitizers.

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