As COVID-19 began spreading around the world in 2020, doctors and health specialists highly recommended using hand sanitizer as one way to combat the virus. Soon after, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) produced a list of nine hand sanitizers to avoid. That list grew to a couple hundred in quick time.

Now as China has a resurgence of COVID infecting its population, the FDA advises consumers to not use 378 different hand sanitizers. Most sanitizers were produced in Mexico while others were produced in the United States, China and many countries around the world.

Vials of hand sanitizer are priced for sale at a pharmacy on December 31, 2020, in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The FDA has listed 378 different hand sanitizers it recommends avoiding.
Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images

There are different reasons hand sanitizers are recalled, including: Containing methanol, 1-propanol, benzene, acetaldehyde, or acetal; is labeled to contain methanol; it’s been found to have microbial contamination; it’s being recalled by the manufacturer or distributor.

Other factors can play into recalls, like not having the required amount of ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol or benzalkonium chloride. Some products were made in the same facility as other products that contained toxic products and others might have been packaged in a container that resembles a food or beverage container that poses a risk of potential accidental ingestion.

A few of the products produced in China have Disney and other popular labels that include:

  • Disney Mickey Mouse Hand Sanitizer
  • Disney Princess Hand Sanitizer
  • Disney Frozen II Hand Sanitizer
  • Marvel Spiderman Hand Sanitizer
  • Star Wars Mandalorian Hand Sanitizer, (Green and Blue Gel formulas)

The FDA has a full list here.

“Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol should seek immediate treatment, which is critical for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning,” the FDA has stated. “Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death.”

The FDA in 2020 recommended residents follow the guidelines of washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water, especially after eating, going to the bathroom and either coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.

The FDA also recommended using a hand sanitizer that contained at least 60 percent alcohol.

“FDA remains vigilant and will continue to take action when quality issues arise with hand sanitizers,” the FDA said. “Additionally, the agency is concerned with false and misleading claims for hand sanitizers, for example that they can provide prolonged protection such as 24-hours against viruses including COVID-19, since there is no evidence to support these claims.”

China has seen a spike in COVID-19 deaths in the last month already, according to Reuters. In that report, it states there were nearly 60,000 hospital deaths from December 8 until January 12. Most of the deaths were seniors aged 75 or older.

There have been more than 673 million COVID cases reported and more than 6.74 million deaths worldwide since the virus was first detected in late 2019. The United States leads the world with infections (103 million) and deaths (1.1 million), far ahead of any other country, since it became a global pandemic in 2020.

China has particularly seen an uptick in both infections and deaths within the last couple of months.

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