As health experts recommend people wash their hands for at least 20 seconds and take other health precautions to avoid illness, products like hand sanitizer have become highly sought after during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, many companies have increased production on hand sanitizers and disinfectants to meet this heightened need. However, in order to meet the demand, not all hand sanitizer manufacturers have created a safe product for consumers. According to a recent article, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently recalled dozens of widely available hand sanitizers because they contain potentially deadly levels of wood alcohol. Product recalls like these can often result in serious injury to consumers, and may be the basis for a New Hampshire product liability claim.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% ethanol. However, many of the recalled products instead contain methanol, or wood alcohol. Methanol can be toxic when absorbed through the skin and may even cause blindness. Furthermore, it is often deadly if ingested.
Besides containing methanol, the recently recalled sanitizers are extremely dangerous because their labels are misleading, indicating the products contain ethanol rather than wood alcohol. Because of the labeling error, consumers are not able to tell whether they are buying hand sanitizer with methanol or ethanol. To help consumers ensure they do not use a dangerous product, the FDA maintains a list of recalled products on its website. Additionally, the FDA warns of products that claim to be “FDA-approved,” as no such label exists.