Health Ministry warns against the use of methanol in hand sanitisers

Health Ministry warns against the use of methanol in hand sanitisers

The Ministry of Health is warning against the use of methanol or similar toxic substances in locally produced brands of alcohol-based handrubs/sanitisers.

In a media release issued this evening by the Health Ministry, the use of such ingredients in handrubs/sanitisers poses serious health risks to the public.

As part of the national drive to safeguard the health of the Trinidad and Tobago population in the face of the global Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Health Ministry is advising that all local manufacturers, importers and distributors of alcohol-based handrubs/sanitisers to seek prior approval from the Chemistry Food and Drugs Division at the Ministry.

The Ministry of Health hereby advises that alcohol-based handrubs/sanitisers should follow the guidelines recommended by World Health Organization; which is 60 to 80 percent alcohol (either ethanol, isopropanol or a combination) for handrubs/sanitisers as these are generally most effective.

Methanol should not be used in the production of alcohol-based handrubs/sanitisers because it is highly toxic, and can result in severe systemic toxicity after oral, pulmonary and/or skin exposures.

It is commonly known that methanol, when absorbed on the skin can cause irritation and inflammation and unintentional ingestion can be fatal. This is according to an article by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health entitled, ‘‘Methanol as an Unlisted Ingredient in Supposedly Alcohol-Based Hand Rub Can Pose Serious Health Risk” published in July 2018.