FDA Issues Recall Of Methanol-Laced Hand Sanitizer

Federal health officials have announced a recall of several hand sanitizer products distributed by Aruba Aloe Balm N.V. due to dangerous contamination with methanol, a substance harmful to human health. The recall specifically targets 40 lots of the company’s popular Aruba Aloe Hand Sanitizer Gel Alcohol 80% and Aruba Aloe Alcoholada Gel, sold extensively across the United States.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these products contain “alcohol denatured with methanol,” which can cause severe adverse effects, including nausea, vomiting, headaches, blurred vision, seizures, coma, permanent blindness, and central nervous system damage. In extreme cases, exposure to methanol can be fatal.

The FDA’s alert urges consumers to immediately discontinue using these products and dispose of them to prevent any further risk of injury or illness. These items, housed in distinctive 12-ounce dark green plastic bottles and smaller 2.2- and 8.5-fluid-ounce transparent bottles, were marketed not only as hand sanitizers but also as relief gels for minor skin irritations and burns.

This recall comes in the wake of the agency’s ongoing efforts to oversee hand sanitizer production, which saw an uptick in methanol use instead of ethyl alcohol during the pandemic. Methanol, typically used for industrial purposes, is unsuitable for skin contact or ingestion.

The FDA warning provides: “Although all persons using these products on their hands are at risk, young children who accidentally ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol substitute are most at risk for methanol poisoning.”

The impacted products were sold online through the Aruba Aloe Balm N.V. website from May 1, 2021, to October 7, 2023. Despite the severity of the risk, the company has not yet received reports of adverse reactions related to the recalled products.

Aruba Aloe Balm N.V. has responded to the recall notice by reaching out to affected customers. So far, the company has only offered to give those persons a discount on future purchases of its products. It remains to be seen whether that will do anything to regain consumer trust and confidence in its manufacturing processes.

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