FDA updates poison warning to include 87 hand sanitizers -- mostly from Mexico

Warning is for sanitizer brands that include methanol, which can be lethal if ingested

Warning is for sanitizer brands that include methanol, which can be lethal if ingested.

The FDA warns of almost 90 hand sanitizer brands that have been found to contain the toxic chemical methanol.

Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or even life-threatening when ingested.

Out of the 87 hand sanitizers the FDA has found to contain the toxic substance, all but one was manufactured from the same country.

“If it says ‘manufactured in Mexico,' I’d cross it out,” said UF Health Jacksonville Toxicology Fellow Dr. Anthony DeGelorm, who works with Florida Poison Contro Center.

The only hand sanitizer brand on the list not manufactured in Mexico comes from Leiper’s Fork Distillery in Tennessee.

In the FDA’s new warning, the organization says it’s “urging consumers not to use any hand sanitizer products from the particular manufacturers on the list even if the product or particular lot number are not listed since some manufacturers are recalling only certain – but not all – of their hand sanitizer products.”

The agency says that in most cases, methanol does not appear on the product label but that it is “not an acceptable ingredient in any drug, including hand sanitizer, even if methanol is listed as an ingredient on the product label.”

The FDA said it has taken steps to prevent the products from entering the country by placing them on an import alert.

However, DeGelorm said the products are still popping up in big name stores like Walmart, Target and Costco.

“We have had a few cases where children were hospitalized and needed intense treatment because they got into bottles of hand sanitizer that had the methanol in it,” he said.