product safety

Toxic Hand Sanitizer Is a Dangerous Side Effect of a Global Pandemic

COVID-19 washed across the United States like a tidal wave. As citizens across the country scrambled to protect themselves, some unscrupulous individuals and companies took advantage of the panic to produce dangerous, potentially hazardous hand sanitizers—many of these contained ingredients such as methanol—which can cause severe personal injuries and wrongful deaths.

Toxic Products on Store Shelves

From May to August, the American Association of Poison Control Centers recorded 1,585 toxic exposures to hand sanitizers. In June, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its first alert, warning consumers of the dangers posed by hand sanitizers produced by Eskbiochem. By mid-August, the FDA had issued alerts covering more than 160 different brands.

In terms of product safety, some of these products contained methanol, which can cause blindness if ingested or deposited on the eyes. Others did not contain sufficient ethyl alcohol (60% required) or isopropyl alcohol (70% required) to kill viruses and bacteria effectively. In some instances, products examined by the FDA contained 1-propanol, which can cause severe skin and respiratory tract irritation and damage mucous membranes. Other ingredients can result in chemical burns, dizziness, headaches, brain injury, and in some instances, wrongful death.

Pandemic Creates Pandemonium

Many of these toxic hand sanitizers were imported into the United States. In their rush to profit from the pandemic, numerous hand sanitizer manufacturers ignored established product safety protocols and rushed products to market. Many of these were breweries, distilleries, and chemical manufacturers that had no previous experience producing hand sanitizers.

The rush to fill store shelves with a high-demand product resulted in many manufacturers cutting corners. Some manufacturers used production processes that created tainted products. In some cases, manufacturers incorporated methanol, which is toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested.

The PREP Act Offers Limited Protection

The FDA activated the PREP Act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This act gives manufacturers limited liability for products manufactured in response to the pandemic. However, the PREP Act does not excuse nor protect manufacturers who incorporate ingredients or processes that are not FDA approved. It also requires manufacturers to verify that their products meet established compositions and product safety criteria.

We encourage you to contact the team at Welmaker Injury Law in San Antonio at (210) 828-6033. We will schedule a free consultation to discuss your injuries and potential options for pursuing your defective product claim.