As the COVID-19 pandemic began to sweep the globe in early 2020 and whispers of impending lockdowns began, consumers began stocking up on household necessities and bulk buying soap, hand sanitizers, and other basic cleaning supplies. It’s the type of “panic buying” those of us in Mobile, Alabama often see as a hurricane heads towards the northern Gulf Coast. While those purchasing surges we’re used to seeing during hurricane season can often lead to supply shortages, they’re often just a couple of extra delivery trucks away from replenishing shelves back to normal levels. Multiply that sudden surge over an entire nation – or worldwide – however, and then you’ve got a direct blow to the global supply chain.
Manufacturers of hand sanitizer all over the world simply could not keep up with this new, record-breaking level of demand, and shoppers watched shelves sit empty. Seeing the need to fill this new demand, companies who had the raw supplies and manufacturing capabilities began to shift to producing hand sanitizers. From local beer breweries to ExxonMobil, it seems like everyone is in the hand sanitizer game now, filling the shelves again with hundreds of new, unfamiliar brands of the new liquid gold.
Hand Sanitizers Recalled by the FDA
Unfortunately, there are also those who behave negligently during times of crisis, as we have started to see with a growing list of hand sanitizers showing up on the market containing dangerous chemicals. What started with an FDA warning about nine products back in June, has now ballooned to a list of more than 75 that should be avoided. These products have been found through testing to contain methanol, a chemical that is toxic when absorbed through the skin and can be life-threatening when ingested. According to the FDA, “substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death.”
Be sure to check out the FDA’s website for an updated list of hand sanitizers containing methanol, where they outline the information on hand sanitizer labels for consumers to use to identify a product to see if it’s on the list. The FDA also encourages you to report adverse events or quality problems experienced with the use of hand sanitizers, which can be done through their online reporting form.