Toxic Methanol in Hand Sanitizers

How dangerous is sanitizers with Methanol to all our people, because some people are making use of it more than once during visiting shops and malls, etc?  Dodgy hand sanitiser sprayed by SA stores could cause rashes – even hallucinations or perhaps other or even related “virus” results?   Be careful to children and little ones that can harm their organs.

Some South Africans are reporting rashes from exposure to hand sanitiser dispensed at store entrances.      There are concerns that some of these products may not include the right kind of alcohol and the wrong mix of emollients.   To avoid these problems, arm yourself with your own sanitiser – or wear latex gloves  – on your next trip out. 

South Africans aren't being protected from fake sanitiser - Moneyweb


What is alcohol – Methonol?

By law, all business premises must provide hand sanitiser (with at least 70% alcohol content) for use by customers and employees at the entrance to the store.     The pathogen (or virus) itself is encased in a lipid envelope, or layer of fat.    Soap helps destroy that layer of fat, making the virus less capable of infecting you.

According to a Johannesburg-based manufacturer of medical-grade hand sanitiser, who spoke on condition of anonymity, “a lot of these guys are inexperienced in manufacturing hand sanitiser. They arrived three months ago and now they’re experts”. Some products, the manufacturer says, have no barcodes or contact numbers listed on the packaging, which means you’re out of luck if something goes wrong.

The key ingredient of safe hand sanitiser is isopropyl or rubbing alcohol, but some of the hand sanitiser products contain methanol or solvents instead.    You might know methanol better when it’s added to alcohol to create methylated spirits – which is what you might be putting on your hands, over, and over again.   If you go shopping, you visit sometimes 4-6 shops inside a mall and everyone require you to put this on your hands.


Methanol is much cheaper, but very toxic. In fact, a 2018 academic study found that repeated use of methanol-based hand sanitiser caused methanol to be absorbed through the skin, leading to chronic toxicity. This could lead to hallucinations or even death in extreme cases.   Some aren’t mixing the ingredients correctly, causing the hand sanitiser to dry out your skin, or creating an itch or rash.   For hand sanitiser to be truly effective, the entire surface of the hands and fingers must be covered,  and even high-quality sanitiser is no substitute for soap and water.     Small children will use their hands all over their bodies.

“The humble act of washing with soap and water, followed by drying with a clean towel is the gold standard,” Elizabeth Scott, an expert in home and community hygiene and professor at Simmons University in the US, told Business Insider. “Hand washing with soap employs mechanical action that loosens bacteria and viruses from the skin, rinsing them into the drain.”


There are two main types of sanitizers, namely: alcohol-based and alcohol-free. With alcohol-based hand sanitizers being the purchase of preference to.      In South Africa sanitisers and disinfectants are regulated by five different Acts as well as the Regulations and/or Standards that fall under them:

  • The Medicines and Related Substances Act 101of 1965 as amended (MRS Act);
  • The Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act 54 of 1972 as amended (FCD Act);
  • The Standards Act, Act 8 of 2008 (Standards Act);
  • The National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications Act 5 of 2008 (NRCS Act); and
  • The Legal Metrology Act 9 of 2014.

BUT WHAT IS SAFE?   If anybody want to use any medication, you look at the label, what is the contents of it.


IS THIS GOOD ENOUGH?   no – they are the regulators and why can’t they regulate the right things to the public and our health!!    There are also level 3 government health workers that can assist here.

The following article on sanitizers…. is on Food stuff

Labelling of sanitizers and disinfectants is, however, not as easy as it seems. What must be taken into account is the place of usage and the risk related to that place of usage, according to the recent joint communication released by the NRCS, SAHPRA (SA Health Products Regulatory Authority) and the SABS on the “Regulatory Status of Equipment Being Used to Help Prevent Coronavirus (COVID-19)”.

Factors such as the surface, intended use, place of use and composition of the hand sanitizer determine the various different groups of categorisations.     What is important to note is that sanitizers and disinfectants are not one and the same. In a recent article by Hannah Roberts published in the Business Insider, entitled “The difference between sanitising and disinfecting. One kills more germs than the other”, it further explains the difference between the two.

One of the main differences is that disinfectants contain chemicals which decontaminate a surface and sanitizers reduce the number of germs on a surface. Alcohol is a surface disinfectant and, as highlighted in the article, is technically a disinfectant.

The following are regulated under the MRS Act. Accordingly, disinfectants used on inanimate surfaces in areas of high risk have to undergo a registration process as prescribed by the Act and fall within the mandate of SAHPRA.

  • Disinfectants, antiseptics and germicides used on inanimate surfaces in areas of high risk (hospital operating rooms, intensive care units (ICU), burn units, Cath Laboratories);
  • Disinfectants used to clean medical instruments;
  • Products primarily claiming to kill germs, disinfect or sanitise or using an active antimicrobial ingredient such as the hand sanitisers used in hospitals and antiseptic and anti-bacterial products specifically for use as surgical scrubs in operating theatres and used on human skin in hospitals’ operating rooms, ICU, burn units etc.

The following fall under the FCD Act and do not need to be registered as a medicine unless their intended usage and claim attached to the product lies in both low and high risk areas, in which case the MRS Act will prevail.

  • Hand sanitisers regarded as “Rub” or “Leave on” products, which are primarily used to sanitise the skin when soap and water are not available;
  • Disinfectants and germicides used on inanimate surfaces in low risk areas within the home, public venues (schools, restaurants), health institutions, health professional consulting rooms and clinics.

However, if only the above-mentioned factors apply, like most disinfectant and sanitizers available at your local supermarket and pharmacy, less scrutiny will be placed on the product as the product does not undergo a rigorous registration process and merely has to comply with the regulations under the FCD Act.

75 recalled in USA


More warnings on Sanitizers

Video and concern about Methanol – and what is the outcome of this concerns?

Ivermectin …


Hoe gesond is dit wat al die winkels, voedselkettingwinkels en selfs apteke of enige ander winkel op jou spuit met hulle handreinigers?

Hoeveel van die giftige stowwe word ingeasem en hoe word elkeen van ons se gesondheid benadeel want dit is voorskriftelik en niemand kan bekragtig wat hulle spuit nie?   Hoeveel hiervan word in die gekoopte of dit wat winkels gebruik as jy binne in die winkel of apteek instap?

Onwettend word dit ook ingeasem as hulle spuit – die walms het ‘n sterk reuk.   Veral deur kinders, jonk van enige ouderdom af wat hul hande moet “skoonspuit” kry dieselfde hoeveelheid as ‘n grootmens en dit word ook ingeasem – watter skades word aan longe en ander organe aangerig, of het verskeie veluitslag tot gevolg?

Die ergste is, persone met allergieë ontwikkel “simptome” en almal dink is die virus wat ook nie onmoontlik is nie.      Hoeveel persone wat asemhalingsprobleme ervaar, is eerder as gevolg hiervan wat ingeasem is en nie noodwendig die virus self nie?    Dit veroorsaak verdere paniek by persone.

Hoeveel persone en veral jong kinders,  het uitslag orals, want indien daar van een winkel na ‘n ander gegaan word, word die hele prosedure herhaal.

Is dit totaal nodig – indien persone eerstens by ‘n kompleks ingaan, behoort dit een keer daar te wees.    Maar by elke winkel waar mens net inloer word ook gespuit en oral vat mense aan hul arms en so word dit gifstowwe op die vel geplaas wat irritasie kan veroorsaak.   Alle winkels is dan veronderstel om “skoon en higiënies te wees, maar dit gebeur nie.   Indien dit warm is, loop sweet af, die hande of agterkant van hande word gebruik, indien daar nie ‘n waslap of handdoek byderhand is nie.

Sekuriteit was al heel verontwaardig as daar maskers afgehaal word om sweet met ‘n eie skoon handdoek of sneesnoekies afgevee word, juis om te keer dat sweet wat moontik besmet kan wees, nie in die oë, neus of mond inloop nie.    Dit kan ook van die giftige gasse bevat indien dit wel in die reiniger voorkom.

Die vraag is, hoeveel simptome van die stowwe wat in al hierdie handreinigers gebruik word, beland op vel, neusgate of oë,  dan word dit aan die virus toegeskryf.   Jong kinders van 3-7 jaar dra maskers, maak met elke geleentheid die hande skoon met die “moontlik skadelike stowwe in die handreiniger” en sodoende beland dit op die vel, oral op die lyf en siedaar, uitslag volg en niemand weet wat makeer nie.




Aug. 17, 2020 — As the FDA’s warning list about dangerous hand sanitizers containing methanol grows, another troubling trend has emerged. Some people are drinking the sanitizers to get an alcohol high. Others have believed a rumor, circulated online, that drinking the highly potent and toxic alcohol can disinfect the body, protecting them from COVID-19 infection.

Drinking hand sanitizers to get a buzz is nothing new for people with a substance use disorder, says Maureen Roland, a registered nurse and managing director of the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center at Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix.

The FDA warned the public in July that “methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due to its toxic effects. FDA’s investigation of methanol in certain hand sanitizers is ongoing.”

But as more of the methanol-based sanitizers came on the market, Roland and her colleagues began noticing more cases of methanol ingestion beginning in May 2020.

Roland and her colleagues alerted the state health department, who brought in the CDC and FDA to investigate. In the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Aug. 14, public health officials from the CDC, Arizona, and elsewhere report on the first 15 cases seen in Arizona and New Mexico. The poisonings are continuing there, Roland says, despite ongoing warnings.

The poisonings aren’t limited to the Southwest. Across the U.S., 1,585 exposures to hand sanitizer containing methanol have been reported from May to August, says Heba Hashem, a spokesperson for the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

The problem is also occurring globally. Researchers from Australia, Japan, Bangladesh, and other countries recently gathered COVID-19 rumors from what they term the “infodemic.” They scoured online platforms, Facebook, Twitter, and online newspapers to find the rumors and conspiracy theories circulating about COVID-19.

A popular myth was that drinking highly concentrated alcohol could disinfect the body and kill the virus. After the suggestion became widespread, the researchers found that about 800 people have died after drinking methanol, 60 developed complete blindness, and about 5,900 have been hospitalized, mainly in Iran, Turkey, Qatar, and India.

“The source of the rumor could not be identified,” says study leader Md. Saiful Islam, a PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. “However, during the end of February and early March, 2020, the rumor, ‘gurgling or drinking alcoholic beverages would disinfect the mouth or inside the body and prevent the infection by killing the virus’ was circulating in Iran,” he says.

FDA’s List Grows

The FDA first alerted consumers about toxic hand sanitizers in mid-June, when the agency warned against the use of hand sanitizer products with methanol made by Eskbiochem. By Aug. 12, that list had grown to 160 brands. Besides methanol, the FDA warns, some hand sanitizers don’t contain high enough levels of ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, the acceptable active ingredients for hand sanitizers. And some products are contaminated with 1-propanol, which is not an acceptable ingredient. In some cases, the companies with methanol in their products have voluntarily recalled them, following the FDA’s recommendation. For others, the FDA has issued an import alert to stop the product from entering the country.

Methanol, Ethanol, Isopropanol

While the CDC recommends the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% ethyl alcohol (ethanol) or 70% isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol), the agency emphasizes that methanol (methyl alcohol) is not an acceptable ingredient and must not be used due to its toxic effects. While some hand sanitizers are marked “FDA approved,” the FDA says that is a fraudulent claim, as there are none approved by the FDA. Under a final rule issued in 2019, the FDA stipulated which ingredients are allowed in over-the-counter hand sanitizers.

Methanol, also called wood alcohol, can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested, the FDA warns. Poisoning from methanol being absorbed through the skin is rare, according to the CDC report.

Consumers who have hand sanitizers with methanol on the label should dispose of the products as hazardous waste, the FDA says, or follow the advice of their local waste management officials.

A Closer Look at the Arizona, New Mexico Cases

Of the 15 cases found in Arizona and New Mexico from May 1 to June 30, four patients died and three were discharged with visual impairment. The average age was 43 and ranged from 21 to 65. All but two were men. Six had seizures during their hospital stay. Nine needed kidney treatment such as dialysis.

Symptoms include headache, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting, loss of coordination, and a decreased level of consciousness. The methanol has a direct toxic effect on the optic nerve, and ingestion can lead to blindness.     

Despite the warnings, the incidents are not declining, says Roland, who estimates the poison reports for her center are 30% higher in general than in previous months for hand sanitizer exposures. “For the state of Arizona, we have had over 40 intentional hand sanitizer ingestions with reported methanol since mid-May. We had three exposures over the weekend [of Aug. 8-9], and a fatality on Monday.”

Before the pandemic and the methanol-containing hand sanitizers, Roland says, “methanol poisonings were from windshield washer fluid [and other products], not usually from hand sanitizer.” To complicate matters, she says, not all hand sanitizers containing methanol have it listed on the label.

When methanol is metabolized, those breakdown products are toxic, Roland says. The antidote is an intravenous medicine called fomepizole, which makes the methanol less toxic, Roland says. Sometimes a second dose is needed. Patients may need to be intubated, and others need dialysis. Vision problems can be temporary or permanent.

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