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Toxic vs Non-Toxic Hand Sanitizers

Hand sanitizers are easy to find again, but now, there are too many choices. You go to the store to restock. You’re overwhelmed because your go-to brand is also everybody else's. Gone! You suppose that any of the unknown sanitizers are safe. Think again. 

Bootlegging is at a brand new level. In this present climate, hand sanitizers are at the top of the menu. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) warned consumers of the dangerous ingredient, methanol (methyl alcohol) in over 77 brands! You can view the list at the bottom of the FDA’s page: Click >> here

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), “[Methanol] is a toxic alcohol that is used industrially as a solvent, pesticide, and alternative fuel source.” The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) also details the dangers of methanol here.



  • Indoor Air: Methanol can be released into indoor air as a liquid spray (aerosol).
  • Water: Methanol can be used to contaminate water.
  • Food: Methanol may be used to contaminate food.
  • Outdoor Air: Methanol can be released into outdoor air as a liquid spray (aerosol).
  • Agricultural: If methanol is released into the air as a liquid spray (aerosol), it has the potential to contaminate agricultural products.

Urgent Update [8/12/2020] “FDA is warning consumers and health care professionals about certain hand sanitizer products, including those manufactured by Harmonic Nature S de RL de MI in Mexico, that are labeled to contain ethanol or isopropyl alcohol but have tested positive for 1-propanol contamination. 1-propanol, not to be confused with 2-propanol/isopropanol/isopropyl alcohol, is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizer products marketed in the United States and can be toxic and life-threatening when ingested.”

The AAPCC warns about cute sanitizers that may have glittery or colorful packaging. Many children are charmed by bright colors, glitter, or sweet-looking things. Because hand sanitizers generally contain 60% alcohol, the AAPCC cautions you not to buy these sanitizers, in case a child licks his/her hand. They state, “Even a small amount of alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning in children.”

Alas, it is safer to use well-known brands, such as Purell or Germ-XDr. Bronner's Lavender Hand Sanitizer and EO's Organic Hand Sanitizer have been long-time favorites of mine. If you prefer natural ingredients with the alcohol, of course, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) created a lovely list of safe options.

Follow the safety guidelines when choosing your hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol). Washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water reigns supreme. Make sure to review the FDA's warning list ere your next purchase.