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Your Hand Sanitizers May Be Laced with Harmful Chemicals

The FDA released a warning on  July 27 urging consumers to avoid 90 different hand sanitizer products since they contain deadly ingredients when ingested or applied anywhere on the body. The list continues to increase every month.  In June, the FDA warned consumers not to use only nine kinds of hand sanitizers. Now that figure is over 10 times larger. 

One of the biggest avoiders commonly found in most hand sanitizers is methanol (also called wood alcohol).  Others include ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol.

Methanol is extremely toxic!  With more than 20 million tons produced annually, methanol is used in the industry as a solvent, pesticide, and alternative fuel source. It is usually ingested together with or in place of intended ethanol (the alcohol in beverages). In fact, as little as 10 mL of pure methanol exposure can cause permanent blindness by destroying the optic nerve; 30 mL is potentially fatal (Vale, 2007). 

Methanol damages the brain and spinal cord similar to alcohol. Exposure directly to the skin can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision/ blindness, seizures, permanent damage to the body’s neurons, coma, or even death. 

Methanol is toxic since it turns into formaldehyde, acetic acid, methyl tert-butyl ether, as well as a host of more specialised chemicals when metabolized by the liver. These toxic metabolites turn off a critical enzyme in the mitochondria of cells which prevents cellular energy production. Methanol starves cells of oxygen.   Methanol turns the blood acidic and kills cells!!  

Many of the deadly ingredients in hand sanitizers are not listed on the product label.  The FDA claims it has taken steps to prevent the products from entering the country by placing them on an import alert, but they still appear to be spilling in anyways. The FDA unfortunately does not have 100% control over preventing dangerous ingredients from being included in hand sanitizers, and hence, has only forced a few to be recalled. 

Market demands for hand sanitizers to presumptively combat COVID19 since February has led to a huge spike in the number of "adverse events, including blindness, heart and central nervous system damage, hospitalizations and death”.  This makes sense given methanol’s mechanism of action.  

Due to a shortage in common brands like Purell, many new types of hand sanitizers have entered the marketplace. The rush in production has bypassed critical screening practices and allowed many to enter which are contaminated with methanol contamination and dangerous. 

Find more information about all 100+ (and growing) hand sanitizers to avoid, including the product code where available, on the FDA website. This list is updated monthly. Please avoid the following products:

 

 

The Solution is easy!!  Use plant oil-derived soaps such as Dr. Bronner’s Castille soap and water for handwashing. 

Avoid hand sanitizers since many of their ingredients are toxic, dehydrating, and increasing risk of dangerous side effects.  



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Our expert team of integrative holistic practitioners work with patients suffering from chronic health concerns.  We help our patients reverse disease by better understanding how the body optimally functions and providing personalized treatment plans. To learn more and book an appointment, contact Advanced Health or call 1-415-506-9393. 



References 

Fiedler, E., Grossmann, G., Kersebohm, D. B., Weiss, G., & Witte, C. (2000). Methanol. Ullmann's encyclopedia of industrial chemistry.

Liesivuori J, Savolainen H (September 1991). "Methanol and formic acid toxicity: biochemical mechanisms". Pharmacol. Toxicol. 69 (3): 157–63.

McMartin KE, Martin-Amat G, Noker PE, Tephly TR (1979). "Lack of a role for formaldehyde in methanol poisoning in the monkey". Biochem. Pharmacol. 28 (5): 645–9.

Schep LJ, Slaughter RJ, Vale JA, Beasley DM (2009). "A seaman with blindness and confusion". BMJ. 339:

Vale A (2007). "Methanol". Medicine. 35 (12): 633–4.

Author
Dr. Payal Bhandari Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. is a leading practitioner of integrative and functional medicine in San Francisco.

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