Nigerians should avoid using alcohol-based hand sanitizers imported from Mexico, according to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
The US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has put all alcohol-based hand sanitisers from Mexico on a countrywide import warning, according to NAFDAC Director-General Mojisola Adeyeye.
According to the USFDA, the products were labeled as containing ethanol but were discovered to contain methanol, which is poisonous and potentially fatal if ingested through the skin into the body system.
The NAFDAC boss said the USFDA said until it is able to review the products’ safety, it will be on its watchlist.
She said: “The USFDA has seen a sharp increase in hand sanitiser products from Mexico that were labelled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but tested positive for methanol contamination over the course of the ongoing pandemic.
“Methanol or wood alcohol is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin and life-threatening when ingested.
“Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient in hand sanitiser or other drugs.
“Under the import alert, alcohol-based hand sanitisers from Mexico offered for import are subject to heightened FDA scrutiny and the shipment may be detained.
“This marks the first time the FDA has issued a countrywide import alert for any category of drug product.”
Significant methanol exposure, according to NAFDAC, can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent nervous system damage, or death.
Methanol poisoning was a possibility for those who used the products on their hands, according to the warning.
Importers, manufacturers, retailers, and users have been urged to exercise caution and vigilance in order to prevent the distribution, sale, and use of methanol alcohol-based hand sanitisers, according to NAFDAC.
It also instructed anyone in possession of such goods to stop selling or using them and turn them in to the nearest NAFDAC office.