- The Trading Standards has issued a recall for two hand sanitiser gels
- One gel called 'lbcccndc Instant Hand Sanitiser' was found to contain methanol
- Methanol can cause a range of side effects if ingested, including blindness
- The other gel, Yucky Hands, was recalled after tests showed it did not contain sufficient levels of ethanol to kill germs, such as the Covid-19 virusSince the coronavirus pandemic kicked off last year, hand sanitisers have become staple items in most people's bags.
But a new report has warned that some hand sanitiser products available to purchase online may be unsafe to use.
Trading Standards has issued a recall for two hand sanitiser gels being sold on Amazon and eBay, which were found to pose serious health risks to the public.Worryingly, one of the gels was found to contain 37 per cent methanol - a highly toxic banned substance that if ingested, can lead to blindness and death.
Methanol is currently on The Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association's list of banned ingredients allowed in any hand sanitisers in the UK.
The gel, which was sold in the UK on AliBaba and Ebay, was found to contain 37 per cent methanol - a toxic alcohol that is used industrially as a solvent, pesticide, and alternative fuel source.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), methanol can can cause a range of nasty side effects if ingested.
The CDC said: 'Methanol's toxicity is due to its metabolic products. The by-products of methanol metabolism cause an accumulation of acid in the blood (metabolic acidosis), blindness, and death.'
Methanol is on the UK's list of banned ingredients for hand sanitisers, and has been call 'unacceptable' by the FDA.
The FDA said: 'Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitisers and must not be used due to its toxic effects. FDA’s investigation of methanol in certain hand sanitisers is ongoing. The agency will provide additional information as it becomes available.'
Ibcccndc Instant Hand Sanitiser was also found to contain insufficient levels of ethanol (7 per cent) to kill germs, such as the Covid-19 virus.
Meanwhile, the second hand gel to be recalled was called Yucky Hands, despite the fact that its US-based producer, YuckyGroup, claimed the gel was 'FDA & WHO approved'.
While this hand sanitiser did not contain methanol, an analysis revealed that it only contained an alcohol volume of 42.3 per cent, which is considered insufficient to effectively kill viruses.
Natalie Hitchins, Head of Home Products and Services at Which?, said: 'It's really worrying that hand sanitisers that at best fail to protect and at worst could cause serious harm to someone's health continue to be found readily available on online marketplaces.
'While it's positive that these hand sanitiser products have been recalled, this raises further question marks over the checks and monitoring carried out by online marketplaces.
'They must be given greater legal responsibility for the safety of products sold on their sites so that customers are better protected.'
Public Health England recommends only purchasing hand sanitisers with an alcohol volume of over 60 per cent.
It advised: 'Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
'This is particularly important after taking public transport.'
The recall comes shortly after tests by Which? revealed that several hand sanitisers being sold on online marketplaces make misleading claims.
Which? put 18 hand sanitisers to the test, including gels available on popular sites like eBay and Etsy.
Three hand sanitisers were found to not contain the percentage of alcohol claimed on the product listing page or packaging.
Klenzy Hand Sanitizing Gel claimed to have 75% alcohol content, but tests showed it contained just 10%.
Meanwhile, the VaidaMakeup Hand Sanitiser Gel (33% alcohol content) and Hansan Antibacterial Hand Sanitiser (35%), were also found to contain half of the 70% alcohol levels that were claimed.