FDA Slaps Alert on All Mexico Hand Sanitizers, Citing Toxic Risk

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration placed an alert on all alcohol-based hand sanitizers coming from Mexico, intending to protect consumers from potentially dangerous substances.

The agency found a high number of hand sanitizers with labels saying they contained ethanol but that tested positive for methanol, which can be toxic when absorbed and life-threatening when ingested, according to a statement Tuesday.

The move marks the first time that the FDA has issued a country-wide import alert for any drug product. The agency’s tests found that 84% of samples didn’t comply with regulations and that more than half contained toxic ingredients at dangerous levels. The FDA previously had banned products from 37 Mexican companies, many of which continued to be sold widely in Mexico, Bloomberg News reported in October.

Under the alert, alcohol-based hand sanitizers from Mexico, except for those from a select list of companies, may be detained without inspection and will be subject to heightened scrutiny.

“Methanol-contaminated hand sanitizers are a serious safety concern,” the FDA said. The regulator said it was “aware of adverse events, including blindness, cardiac effects, effects on the central nervous system and hospitalizations and death.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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