Health

There’s a Nationwide Recall on Spray Hand Sanitizers for Containing Wood Alcohol

There’s a nationwide spray hand sanitizer recall on 11 products that were sold at Ulta, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls stores. Scentsational Soaps & Candles, Inc. issued a voluntary recall on the spray hand sanitizers because they may contain methanol (wood alcohol), benzene, and acetaldehyde, according to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) press release.

Specifically, the recall affects the Ulta Beauty Collection Fresh Lemon Scented Hand Sanitizer sold in California, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Texas. It also includes multiple scents of SS Black and White Collection and SS Photo Real Collection hand sanitizers. Those were sold at TJ Maxx stores in Indiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Nevada, and Texas, as well as Marshalls stores in Arizona, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Virginia. For the full list of products (and photos of the products) that are included in the recall, check the company’s press release here. Ulta has already removed the affected product from its stores and online, and the other retailers and distributors have been told to stop selling them.

The presence of all three of those chemicals is cause for concern, but methanol is perhaps the most worrying. Back in January, the FDA issued guidelines about testing for methanol in alcohol-based hand sanitizer and explained that “methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for any drug and should not be used due to its toxic effects.” 

If someone is exposed to a high enough amount of methanol, they may experience vomiting, nausea, blurred vision, and headaches. At the more extreme end, they can develop permanent blindness, seizures, and even death. In fact, during the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been multiple reports of deaths attributed to ingesting methanol-containing hand sanitizer. Although anyone who ingests these products is at risk, the biggest concern is that kids or adolescents might ingest the hand sanitizer as a substitute for alcohol, the FDA says. However, so far, the company says there haven’t been any reports of illness related to this recall.

If you purchased any of the products included in the hand sanitizer recall, you should stop using them. And if you experience any health issues that you think may be related to using the recalled products, you should get in touch with your health care provider. 

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