FDA Expands List of Potentially Deadly Hand Sanitizers
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded its list of potentially toxic hand sanitizers to avoid because they could be contaminated with methanol.
Methanol, or wood alcohol, can be toxic when absorbed through the skin and deadly when swallowed. The FDA now lists 67 hand sanitizers that have been recalled, tested positively for methanol contamination or were reportedly made in the same facility as labels that tested positive.
"That should never be in a hand sanitizer," ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton told the network Monday. "Its absorption can produce toxic, and in some cases, deadly results."
We're alerting consumers & health care professionals that additional hand sanitizer products have been added to our… https://t.co/tBgOSGsI5e— U.S. FDA (@U.S. FDA)1594250755.0
The FDA issued an initial warning June 19 for nine hand sanitizers made by the company Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico. Since then, the agency has added dozens of other products and continues to investigate the use of methanol in hand sanitizer. The product has become incredibly popular since February, when the threat of the new coronavirus began to spread, and this has led to shortages of familiar brands like Purell, as well as the emergence of new brands to meet the demand, USA TODAY pointed out.
"All Americans should practice good hand hygiene, which includes using alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available. Unfortunately, there are some companies taking advantage of the increased usage of hand sanitizer during the coronavirus pandemic and putting lives at risk by selling products with dangerous and unacceptable ingredients. Consumers and health care providers should not use methanol-containing hand sanitizers," FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn said in a July 2 press release.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people use hand sanitizers that are 60 percent or more ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, according to ABC News. The products flagged by the FDA are labeled as containing ethanol, but tested positive for methanol despite this.
Methanol is used industrially as a solvent, pesticide and fuel source, according to the CDC. Exposure can cause nausea, confusion, dizziness, headaches, blindness, heart and respiratory failure, coma and even death.
"Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol and are experiencing symptoms should seek immediate treatment for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning," the FDA warned.
The agency said young children who drink hand sanitizer by mistake or teenagers or adults who drink it as an alcohol substitute are most at risk. The FDA has already received reports of children and adults who have gone blind, been hospitalized and died because they drank hand sanitizer contaminated with methanol.
Many of the contaminated hand sanitizers were sold under the brand name Blumen, according to ABC News. Some of this brand's products were available at the major retailer BJ's.
ABC7-WJLA health reporter Victoria Sanchez found a spot for impacted brand Modesa at a Family Dollar, but the store had sold out. However, the company website said the brand was available in store, ABC7-WJLA reported.
I’m on the hunt to see if recalled hand sanitizer is still on store shelves. At my fourth stop, I found Family Doll… https://t.co/VbzHW0bQmi— Victoria Sanchez (@Victoria Sanchez)1594745988.0
Dollar Tree, Inc., which owns Family Dollar, said the product it sold had not been recalled.
"We are aware of the recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report regarding certain hand sanitizer product. The third party manufacturer and supplier of this product has confirmed that none of our product contains methanol or was otherwise contaminated. The third party manufacturer and supplier has now issued a formal recall of certain potentially contaminated product and our hand sanitizer was not included on this list. We and the third party manufacturer and supplier are working to clarify this matter with the FDA," a spokesperson told ABC7 in an email.
However, the FDA has encouraged customers not to use any hand sanitizers made by the companies whose products tested positive.
According to USA TODAY, the companies behind the contaminated hand sanitizers include:
- 4E Global, which makes the Blumen and Modesa brands
- AAA Cosmetica
- DDI Multinacional
- Grupo Insoma
- Limpo Quimicos
- Liqesa Exportacion
- Maquiladora Miniara
- Mystic International
- Soluciones Cosmeticas
- Yara Elena De La Garza Perez Nieto
To find out if the hand sanitizer in your medicine cabinet is impacted, you can search a more detailed FDA database here. Shoppers should also watch out for any hand sanitizers that say FDA-approved, because the agency does not issue formal approvals for hand sanitizers, ABC News advised.
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1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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