As of August 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has more than 100 different brands of hand sanitizer on their recall list. When the coronavirus pandemic took hold earlier in the year, experts advised the country to consistently use hand sanitizer, causing a run on the market. Soon enough, the market responded with dozens of new brands and choices.
However, consumers are on edge about what works, what doesn’t, and which company’s product claims are valid. Hand sanitizer users are reporting injuries and even deaths with specific sanitizer brands, leading to FDA recalls and lawsuits in North Carolina and around the state. With these recalls continuing at an alarming rate, some of these toxic hand sanitizers remain on store shelves – Target and Walmart in particular – and continue to cause consumers harm.
What makes these hand sanitizers toxic?
The FDA’s list of dangerous hand sanitizers are toxic because they contain a substance called methanol (or wood alcohol). Most of these hand sanitizers were labelled as ethyl alcohol instead, which is much less dangerous than methanol.
Methanol is a flammable and volatile liquid that should never be used for hand sanitizer. It is more commonly used in the production of fuel and antifreeze. According to the FDA, “Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death. Although all persons using these products on their hands are at risk, young children who accidentally ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk for methanol poisoning.”
The Washington Post reports that, since May, at least seven people have died and dozens hospitalized after ingesting hand sanitizer containing methanol. Methanol can also be absorbed through the skin, and when used too frequently can also have toxic effects. And, because of mislabeling, consumers can’t tell the difference between ethanol-based and methanol-based hand sanitizers. It’s also important to be wary of any sanitizer claiming to be “FDA-approved,” as no such hand sanitizer exists.
It is likely the sudden and increased demand for hand sanitizer resulted in increased product manufacturing but decreased quality assurance. As a result, unsafe and toxic substances made it onto the market. When a consumer is injured by a product due to manufacturer negligence, they are eligible to file a product liability action.
If you, your child, or a loved one suffered injury after using mislabeled and toxic hand sanitizer, a product liability action can help secure compensation for your injuries and losses. Product liability attorneys not only help injured consumers, but also take negligent manufacturers and retailers to task and ensure they create safe, quality products in the future. A successful product liability action can provide financial compensation for damages like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
In manufacturing, a decrease in quality means an increase in danger. If you experienced harm due to a toxic or recalled hand sanitizer, talk to an experienced product liability lawyer today. Contact the Charlotte offices of Warren & Kallianos, PLLC to schedule a consultation. Call us at 704-377-7777 or complete a contact form at your convenience.