Using hand sanitizer regularly is an important tool in the fight against Covid-19. In many stores around Jackson, you should be able to find a hand sanitizer dispenser at the front of the store or distributed around a shopping mall. Many careful people have their own hand sanitizer which they keep in their car or at home for use when contact with other people has been necessary or after touching surfaces that could be carrying amounts of coronavirus. This is not being paranoid. It’s just an extension of good hygiene in the exceptional circumstances that we are all in.
Most hand sanitizers are based on an alcohol solution, usually mixed with other substances such as perfumes. There are also other sanitizers that have substances in them that can kill viruses that have inadvertently been picked up when you are away from home. In the early days of the pandemic, hand sanitizer, like toilet rolls and other products were often in short supply. As time went on, many different products became available. Unfortunately, some of these products either don’t do the job they are supposed to do, or are even toxic and could possibly cause severe illness.
The hand sanitizers that are ineffective are those that have too little alcohol in them. They may be good as a general cleaner, but unless they have an alcohol concentration of at least 60% will not kill or remote viruses like the coronavirus. If you are shopping for hand sanitizer you should not assume that the advertising is accurate. Check the ingredients and only buy sanitizer with an alcohol content of more than 60%.
Unscrupulous hand sanitizer manufacturers
It is unfortunate that unscrupulous manufacturers have taken advantage of the pandemic and the legitimate concerns that many U.S. citizens have about the virus. There are some sanitizers that were released on the market that contained a dangerous type of alcohol that could be toxic if used on the skin or worse drunk. The FDA has already released a public warning about a Mexican hand sanitizer manufacturer, Esk Biochem SA de CV, that has been selling several different sanitizer products containing dangerous amounts of methanol, instead of the less dangerous and more usual ethanol. Some of these potentially dangerous products are listed below:
- All-Clean Hand Sanitizer
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
- Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer
- Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer
- Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer
- The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer.
Why is methanol toxic?
There is a whole family of alcohols. Only one of them, ethanol or ethyl alcohol to give it its other name, has been approved to be safe enough to drink. This is the familiar alcohol that makes up alcoholic drinks like beer, wine and spirits. All other alcohols have their uses around the home or in industry, but can be poisonous if drunk, even in small quantities. Methanol in a hand sanitizer can penetrate the skin and cause toxicity once it reaches the blood stream.
What to do if you are looking to buy hand sanitizer
There are now so many different hand sanitizers on the market that it is wise to be careful when purchasing these products. To check whether a hand sanitizer is effective, look at the ingredients. If there is no indication that there is any alcohol present, or the alcohol content is less than 60%, it may not be strong enough, even if it could be suitable as a general antiseptic.
Next, avoid any products that are in the list above or have been warned about in the media. Check that the alcohol in the sanitizer is ethanol or ethyl alcohol and not methanol or methyl alcohol (or other alcohols like propanol / propyl alcohol, butanol etc.).
It shouldn’t have to be said that you and anyone in your family, especially children, should not try drinking the product even if it smells like your favorite tipple.
If you have suffered symptoms of methanol poisoning because of use of one of the products listed above or another product, make sure you see a doctor, or go to a hospital as soon as possible. You may be able to sue the retailer, distributor or manufacturer of the product if you are able to show that there was knowledge that the product was potentially poisonous.
See a defective product attorney at the Diaz Law Firm in Jackson to discuss a possible personal injury claim. You may have grounds to claim compensation. The Diaz Law Firm can be contacted at 601-607-3456.