Sanitizers Can Cause Blindness : Toxic methanol found in some sanitisers can cause blindness, check here if your sanitiser passed purity test

Sanitisers containing TOXIC METHANOL (primary alcohol) do not qualify as an ingredient on the label as it is a banned item. It also is banned for use in hand sanitisers, with or without it being accounted for on the label.

Sanitizers Can Cause Blindness : Toxic methanol found in some sanitisers can cause blindness, check here if your sanitiser passed purity test
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Already overburdened due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the stressed about the future, the recent findings thrown up after a scientific study conducted by the Consumer Guidance Society of India (CGSI) - the oldest consumer body in the country - has come as a shocker. 5 of 122 samples they tested contain toxic methanol, and 45 of them don’t match label specifications. a shocking 4% contained toxic methanol that can have serious side-effects such as irreversible optic nerve damage and blindness among others.

The CGSI report dated 31 August 2020 says they carried out a study on hand sanitisers available in the market in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, state of Maharashtra and carried out tests on each to check the alcohol content in each.  They hoped to check if the contents matched what was declared on its labels and whether there were any spurious material inside that could harm the user.

The CGSI report claims that it carried out "Gas Chromatography" testing on over 120 Hand Sanitiser samples in a nationally accredited laboratory in August 2020.

Check here if your sanitiser makes the cut among the good ones.

The report noted that most retail stores and pharmacies sell hand sanitizer; and that due to public health emergency posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, many unscrupulous manufacturers have entered this business. Their non-adherence to fair practices and the adulteration of the product can endanger the lives of the users. 

Hand sanitisers are an Over-The-Counter (OTC) product and are regulated by the FDA. "Sanitisers containing TOXIC METHANOL (primary alcohol) do not qualify as an ingredient on the label as it is a banned item. It also is banned for use in hand sanitisers, with or without it being accounted for on the label. To replace the natural ethanol, some unscrupulous sanitiser makers may have used toxic methyl alcohol or methanol which is a light, volatile, flammable, POISONOUS liquid with a distinctive odour, says the CGSI report.

How methanol endangers eyesight, health, life:

Check out what the CGSI report says:
"Methanol is intoxicating but not directly poisonous. It is toxic by its breakdown (toxication), by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase in the liver by forming formic acid and formaldehyde which causes blindness by destruction of the optic nerve. It enters the body by ingestion, inhalation, or absorption through the skin. Though it is miscible with water, methanol is very hard to wash off the skin. Methyl alcohol is a de-fatting agent and may cause the skin to become dry and cracked. Skin absorption can occur, symptoms may parallel inhalation exposure. Continued exposure may cause eye lesions.

"Once absorbed into the body, it eliminates very slowly. Symptoms of overexposure may include headache, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, blindness, coma, and death. A person may get better but then worse again up to 30 hours later. 

"Persons with pre-existing skin disorders or eye problems or impaired liver or kidney function may be more susceptible to the effects of the substance. Dangerous dose levels will build in the body on regular exposure to methanol vapours or liquid methanol without skin protection. 

Go easy on sanitisers, use soap and water:
The CGSI report reminds consumers that the best way to prevent the spread of infections and to reduce the risk of getting sick is to wash our hands with plain soap and water for at least 20 seconds. In case soap and water are not available, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol (some reports say 70%) is advisable. 

Soap and water wash off dirt, chemical/physical/microbial elements from our hands, while sanitisers can, at the best, get rid of most germs/microbes. 

Dr Andrew Kemp, head of the Scientific Advisory Board on the British Institute of Cleaning Science, has warned that overuse of hand sanitizers can cause a superbug "armageddon situation".  The Lincoln University academic said the best way to fight bacteria and viruses is by simply washing your hands regularly. Overuse of sanitisers cannot kill all microbes on the skin, maybe not even the COVID-19, but the surviving bacteria would be resistant to alcohol and potentially far more harmful, Dr Kemp warns.

Source : TimesNow with CNIN inputs