NAFDAC says Mexican sanitizers on US watchlist for methanol contamination
The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has alerted Nigerian about the all alcohol-based hand sanitizers, manufactured in Mexico put on the US watch list for methanol contamination.
According to the Director-General, NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye in a statement made available to newsmen, she explained that the products will be on the US watch list until the agency is able to certify its safety.
The United State Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) had noticed a high increase in hand sanitiser products from Mexico that were labelled to contain ethanol but tested positive for methanol contamination.
Adeyeye said the move became necessary to help stop product falsification.
The DG further explained that“Methanol is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin and life-threatening when ingested.
“It is also not an acceptable ingredient in hand sanitiser or other drugs.
“Under the import alert, alcohol-based hand sanitisers from Mexico are subject to heightened FDA scrutiny,” she said.
Adeyeye also disclosed that substantial methanol exposure could result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death.
The alert said that all persons using these products on their hands were at risk of methanol poisoning.
“Young children, who accidently ingested these products and adolescents and adults who drank these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, were most at risk.”
The alert said that Methanol was not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitisers and must not be used due to its toxicity
She warned consumers, who had been exposed to hand sanitiser containing methanol and were experiencing symptoms, should seek immediate treatment for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning.
NAFDAC implored importers, distributors, retailers, and consumers to exercise caution and be vigilant to avoid the distribution, sale and use of methanol alcohol-based hand sanitisers.
Also she warned those in possession of methanol alcohol-based hand sanitisers to discontinue the sale or use and to submit the stock to the nearest NAFDAC office.
NAFDAC encouraged the public to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
According to her, if soap and water are not readily available, the use of an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent ethanol or 70 per cent isopropanol should be used.
“This was part of the measures put in place to mitigate the possible risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).”
NAFDAC, however, encouraged health care professionals, consumers and patients to report adverse events related to the use of any hand sanitiser to its nearest office.