The FDA Has Recalled More Than 150 Hand Sanitizers & the List Keeps Growing

Hand sanitizer has become a staple in 2020, but not all of it is made equally well.

hand sanitizer recall

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has maintained a growing list of hand sanitizers it recommends you avoid or throw out. It's a list worth knowing about as hand sanitizers have become an increasingly regular part of life during the pandemic, with experts recommending frequent hand-washing and mask-wearing when out in any public space

The first recall came on June 19, but there's been a steady trickle of brands being added to the list. At the time of publication, the list on the FDA website contains 165 hand sanitizers with a variety of reasons given for each brand's inclusion. Updates to the list have happened as recently as August 26, when two recalls   were announced

Methanol has been a common source of recalls and warnings, but it's far from being the only one.

"FDA continues to find issues with certain hand sanitizer products," the agency wrote on July 31. "FDA test results show certain hand sanitizers have concerningly low levels of ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, which are active ingredients in hand sanitizer products. The agency urges consumers not to use these subpotent products and has expanded its list to include subpotent hand sanitizers, in addition to hand sanitizers that are or may be contaminated with methanol."

The list is lengthy, but is worth checking if you're buying brands with which you're not familiar. (Or maybe you want to be sure the brands you are familiar with are not on the list.) The reasons for inclusion, per the FDA, are that the brand "has been tested by FDA and found to contain methanol or 1-propanol," "is labeled to contain methanol," "has been tested and is found to have microbial contamination," "is being recalled by the manufacturer or distributor," "is subpotent, meaning it has less than the required amount of ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol or benzalkonium chloride," or "is purportedly made at the same facility as products that have been tested by FDA and found to contain methanol or 1-propanol."

Check out the full, searchable list here

August 30, 2020 UPDATE:
More hand sanitizers have been added to the FDA's do not buy list, following a recall of Harmonic Nature hand sanitizers due to the presence of 1-propanol.  It's a small recall on 250mL bottles.

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow him @dlukenelson.