FDA warns public vs. hand sanitizing products with toxic methanol

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 15) — A regulatory body has warned the public against alcohol and alcohol-based products that may contain methanol as some were discovered to contain the toxic chemical.

Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo Domingo said this is a cause for concern as sanitizing is important in preventing the spread of coronavirus.

Ito ay magandang alternatibo sa paghuhugas ng kamay. Kailangan lamang sigurado tayo doon sa kanyang content,” Domingo said during the Health department’s online media briefing.

[Translation: This is a good alternative to washing of hands. We just have to make sure of the content.]

Nakakatakot lang dito sa atin, marami-rami tayong nahuhuli na may laman na methanol,” he said.

[Translation: It is just concerning here in the country, we discovered many products contain methanol.]

Methanol can be toxic when absorbed in the skin or inhaled. Ingestion of at least 30 milliliters is potentially fatal. There were cases of methanol poisoning late last year after victims ingested lamabanog, or coconut wine, with high levels of methanol.

Domingo said about 1,570 brands are registered with the FDA. He reminded consumers to make sure to check labels, which include product name and function, ingredients, special precaution, net content, name and address of manufacturer or distributor, batch number, manufacturing date, expiry date, and place of production.

The official also said ethyl acetate, or industrial grade ethanol, is dangerous for human use since this is meant to be used for factory machine. He added that Canada previously warned of such products, which he said are not available in the country.

He also reminded the public that products with ethyl or isopropyl alcohol at 60 to 70 percent or more are in sanitizing the hands, while anything lower, like alcoholic beverages, are not effective for disinfection.