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FDA warns about second toxic chemical in some hand sanitizers

FDA warns about second toxic chemical in some hand sanitizers
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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has added to its list of potentially deadly hand sanitizers and is warning about a second toxic chemical found in some products. 

In an announcement on Thursday, the FDA said it has seen a spike in the number of hand sanitizer products labeled to contain ethanol but have tested positive for methanol, which can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested.

It also detected the presence of another potential deadly toxin, 1-propanol, which can depress the central nervous system. The FDA said some products are labeled to contain ethanol or isopropyl alcohol, but have tested positive for 1-propanol contamination.

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Symptoms of exposure to 1-propanol include confusion, decreased consciousness, and slowed pulse and breathing.

Most of the now-149 flagged hand sanitizers were produced in Mexico, but a handful were produced in the U.S. or China. The FDA added those products to the import alert in an effort to stop them from being brought to the U.S. 

Those using products on the list should stop using them immediately and get rid of them through a hazardous waste container, the agency said. 

The FDA first warned consumers in June about nine hand sanitizer products to avoid because of the possible presence of methanol. Two weeks later, more brands that tested positive for methanol were added to the warning list.

Exposure to methanol could result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death, the FDA warns. 

The warning of potentially deadly hand sanitizer products comes as health experts recommend regular hand sanitizing for the public to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. This in turn has resulted in a massive increase in hand sanitizer sales and production.