The use of hand-sanitizer in cleaning our hands is the best practice if there is an absence of water around. With the on-going threat and the magnitude of the health risks of what we are facing right now, it’s important that whatever we touch, even with a simple handshake, applying hand-sanitizer or washing hands is our utmost priority.
Because most sanitizers are alcohol-based, they rely heavily on the effectiveness of alcohol. But what if the sanitizer actually made us sick instead of cleaning and disinfecting?
The FDA recently recalled nine hand sanitizer brands from the market due to methanol toxicity in their contents. It was discovered that it contains methanol, a wood alcohol that can be toxic once absorbed by the skin or when it’s ingested inside our body.
WHAT IS METHANOL?
Methanol (CH₃OH) is a colorless liquid with a light alcoholic scent that is classified as a nondrinking type of alcohol, which is also known as wood alcohol and methyl alcohol. It is mainly used in creating solvents, fuel, pesticides, foams, adhesives, antifreeze, and as a feedstock in producing substances such as formaldehyde and acetic acid. It’s known to be volatile, flammable, and poisonous for human consumption, compared to ethanol.
Drinking even a 3.0 ounce of this industrial compound is already fatal. That’s why it’s not advisable for human consumption, whether they mix or use it with alcoholic beverages.
PRIMARY USES OF METHANOL
The demand for new environmental fuel sources is huge and has grown exponentially worldwide over the course of many years. That’s why the demand for methanol has shown an increase in development and usage.
Methanol as fuel – Known as a heating fuel in Europe before the year 1900, it was obtained using the destructive distillation of wood. The automotive industry is greatly influenced by this industrial alcohol. It’s mixed with unleaded gasoline to give smooth burning and better thermal efficiency in the engines.
Methanol as antifreeze agent – Ever wonder why the windshield never freezes? It’s because methanol has synthetic properties that allow it to lower the freezing point of a water-based liquid as it increases its boiling point.
Methanol use in formaldehyde – The combustion of organic materials and natural and anthropogenic action forms formaldehyde. Thus, it’s one of the most important compounds in the chemical industry. Methanol is converted into formaldehyde by catalytic phase oxidation over a catalyst of metal oxide.
Methanol in synthetic product material – Methanol has a wide range of applications in our daily lives. It is used in synthetic fibers, films, and pharmaceuticals. in high-performance plastics and plywood.
HAND-SANITIZER AND METHANOL TOXICITY
When the world faced a pandemic that killed many people, particularly in the health sector, the demand for sanitizers skyrocketed. Almost every generation, a new type of disease emerges. The Spanish flu, AIDS, Ebola Virus, Bubonic Plague, SARS, MERS-CoV, and Covid-19 are just some of them. Alcohols, sanitizers, disinfectants, and purifiers have gained huge demand as they are readily available protection one can easily over the counter.
The FDA recently recalled an alcohol brand and notified consumers after discovering that these alcohol brands contain methanol rather than ethanol. Methyl alcohol is an industrial alcohol that is toxic to human health. The misuse of this compound will lead to a severe health risk, and death if there is no immediate medication.
Methanol poisoning occurs when a person is exposed to methanol through inhalation, ingestion, eye, or skin contact. Since alcohol is rubbed on the surface of the skin and used as an antiseptic, it will likely be the common route for those who are affected. Although it will take some time for the toxic substance to take effect, ingesting methanol into the body is the most lethal route.
SYMPTOMS OF METHANOL POISONING
Methanol’s toxicity is caused by its metabolic products. It is an acid accumulation that enters the bloodstream inside the body. Once exposed to methanol, the patient will undergo an asymptomatic period for 1 to 72 hours. This means that one can not easily see the effect. It’s important that when someone is experiencing pain or discomfort, consulting a doctor is a must in order to avoid any complications.
These symptoms may appear differently in each person:
- CNS Depression
- Heart and respiratory failure
- Eye irritation and redness
- Skin irritation
Exposure Cause By Ingestion
- Neurological – headache, amnesia, agitation, coma, and seizures.
- Gastrointestinal – Lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting, severe abdominal pain, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver abnormalities, and pancreatitis
- Ophthalmologic – Blurred vision, light sensitivity, visual hallucinations, partial to total vision loss, and rarely eye pain.
- Others – Kidney failure, electrolyte imbalances, hematuria, rhabdomyolysis, tachycardia, bradycardia, hypotension, and respiratory arrest
Methanol Poisoning: Treatment And Immediate Response
It is important to identify what brand of hand-sanitizer the patient is using. That way, the doctor or medical specialist could easily determine the main source of the illness. In addition, having knowledge of first aid is also a vital part, in order to easily detect and take precautionary steps to avoid contamination.
- Antidote prescription. Antidotes such as ethanol and fomepizole are effective against methanol toxicity. It should be administered as soon as the person reaches the hospital or clinic.
- For eye contamination, immediately wash the affected area with tepid water for at least 15 minutes.
- For ingestion, do not induce vomiting.
- For inhalation, remove the patient immediately from the source, examine the respiratory function and pulse, administer oxygen if there is shortness of breath, assist with ventilation, or provide artificial respiration.
- For the skin, use a decontamination method.
CDC ALCOHOL RECOMMENDATIONS AND HEALTH ADVISORY
There are guidelines that the CDC and FDA have imposed on how much ethyl alcohol should be included. To lessen any pandemic and contagious transmissions among the Americans, these guidelines are strictly implemented in any alcohol and hand-sanitizers.
CDC recommends 60-95% alcohol in healthcare products and facilities
The alcohol content in the product must be under this standard. This is because a higher concentration of alcohol could easily eradicate germs. Also, a higher concentration of alcohol inhibits the reproduction of microbes.
Hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds
Some campaigns are being run to educate people about the proper way to wash their hands. The important factor is the washing of hands before eating and after using the toilet.
FDA Policy of Ethanol and Isopropyl as an active ingredient
Under any circumstances, the FDA's guidance on the formulation must be consistently followed and adhered to in cooperation with the World Health Organization's Guidance.
CDC has no recommended alternative
Alcohol manufacturers should strictly follow that hand rub products should have 60% ethanol and above content, or 70% isopropanol content, same as with benzalkonium chloride.
OUR PRODUCT VS THE MARKET
The world has undergone a lot of health risks and taken precautionary measures over the years. More discoveries and investigations have been conducted to further the study and increase the awareness of people with these germs.
But what can we contribute to society? Hand sanitizers are there as an immediate, portable solution. However, it is important that we adhere to the regulations on alcohol content and we condemn the use of toxic products such as methanol by a few companies to profit from the pandemic or any health crisis.
Our product has been effective protection ever since the SARS outbreak. We only use CDC-approved ingredients, and we never use methanol or any other toxic materials that could endanger many people's lives. We are a brand that focuses on well-being, comfort, and promotes natural solutions that are both beneficial and eco-friendly.
With the methanol poisoning that occurred, we must know and trust the products that we use.
We guarantee that:
Our product has been proven effective by the American Journal of Infection Control
We conducted several public and laboratory tests and our product proved to have lessened the cross-infection rate in hospitals and public places, minimizing the rate of transmission.
We passed the oral toxicity and skin allergy test conducted by SGS
Only a few hand sanitizers are capable of killing all bacteria on the skin. Scented sprays can cause allergic reactions, and don’t guarantee all-day protection. airDefender all-in-one antibacterial face and body spray uses 100% CDC and FDA approved materials.
Our product make use innovative technologies
Quantum Photocatalysis is the technology we use to ensure the level of antimicrobial solution and the latest in odor and TVOC removal that our competitors don’t have.
Our solutions are crafted to give the kind of protection that many families want. Some products only give 5 or 8-hours of protection. But we make sure to protect each family for a long-lasting 10+ hours, even when they are sleeping.
Methyl alcohol is a toxic ingredient that should not be consumed by humans.Indeed, it has a lot of great contributions and usage in industrial and toxic settings. However, it’s important to create awareness of the harmful effects and disadvantages of this compound.
https://www.kotatv.com/2020/07/30/one-south-dakotan-dies-from-methanol-poisoning-in-hand-sanitizer/ https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/ershdb/emergencyresponsecard_29750029.html https://www.healthline.com/health-news/fda-says-avoid-9-hand-sanitizers-that-contain-toxic-methanol