Poisonous disinfectant

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bmforre
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Poisonous disinfectant

Post by bmforre » Fri Jul 24, 2020 11:30 pm

WaPo free to read as covid related news:

at least 77 hand sanitizer products may be toxic
.. since June, the Food and Drug Administration has identified at least 77 products — including two this week — that consumers should avoid. Many of the products’ labels say they contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but FDA tests show that they contain methanol, or wood alcohol.

Methanol can be toxic when absorbed through the skin, the agency said in an advisory, and can cause blindness. It can be lethal if ingested.

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Woodchopper
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Re: Poisonous disinfectant

Post by Woodchopper » Sat Jul 25, 2020 6:36 am

Topic moved to this forum as it seemed more appropriate here

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Brightonian
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Re: Poisonous disinfectant

Post by Brightonian » Sat Jul 25, 2020 8:49 am

Oh great. And I was congratulating myself the other day for getting a 500ml container of hand gel for five quid. It says it "kills 99.999% of bacteria" - wow, look at all those nines! And it's got tea tree in as well! No idea whether to trust it or any others now.

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Re: Poisonous disinfectant

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sat Jul 25, 2020 9:57 am

The article's from the US, about products manufactured in Mexico. Is the same likely to be to true of products sold in UK/Europe, which are presumably manufactured somewhere else?
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shpalman
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Re: Poisonous disinfectant

Post by shpalman » Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:32 am

Brightonian wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 8:49 am
Oh great. And I was congratulating myself the other day for getting a 500ml container of hand gel for five quid. It says it "kills 99.999% of bacteria" - wow, look at all those nines! And it's got tea tree in as well! No idea whether to trust it or any others now.
Just don't drink it.
molto tricky

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Martin Y
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Re: Poisonous disinfectant

Post by Martin Y » Sat Jul 25, 2020 11:06 am

Is the amount of methanol you might absorb from hand gel actually a significant hazard? If I clean something with a rag or tissue wet with methylated spirits (or, what do they call it in the US, denatured alcohol?) am I poisoning myself by absorption?

<ETA> I get that products which say they contain ethanol and actually contain methanol too should be withdrawn because people will drink them, but the skin absorption thing sounds a bit like OTT scaremongering.

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Brightonian
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Re: Poisonous disinfectant

Post by Brightonian » Sat Jul 25, 2020 11:43 am

shpalman wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:32 am
Brightonian wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 8:49 am
Oh great. And I was congratulating myself the other day for getting a 500ml container of hand gel for five quid. It says it "kills 99.999% of bacteria" - wow, look at all those nines! And it's got tea tree in as well! No idea whether to trust it or any others now.
Just don't drink it.
Hmmm...calculates...
cider...5% alcohol...2L bottle...£2.05...21p per unit
gel...70% alcohol...500ml bottle...£5...14p per unit

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shpalman
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Re: Poisonous disinfectant

Post by shpalman » Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:35 pm

Martin Y wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 11:06 am
Is the amount of methanol you might absorb from hand gel actually a significant hazard? If I clean something with a rag or tissue wet with methylated spirits (or, what do they call it in the US, denatured alcohol?) am I poisoning myself by absorption?

<ETA> I get that products which say they contain ethanol and actually contain methanol too should be withdrawn because people will drink them, but the skin absorption thing sounds a bit like OTT scaremongering.
On the other hand, things which contain ethanol but don't want to be taxed as alcoholic beverages need to have the alcohol denatured in some way to render it undrinkable.

ETA I would expect that the ones sold here use something to make it unpleasant rather than actually poisonous, and that this might not work in places where the alcoholism is more desperate.

And no I don't expect that there's a significant danger from skin contact, and it's only sort of implied in the article without being explicitly stated.
molto tricky

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jimbob
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Re: Poisonous disinfectant

Post by jimbob » Mon Jul 27, 2020 7:12 am

shpalman wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:35 pm
Martin Y wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 11:06 am
Is the amount of methanol you might absorb from hand gel actually a significant hazard? If I clean something with a rag or tissue wet with methylated spirits (or, what do they call it in the US, denatured alcohol?) am I poisoning myself by absorption?

<ETA> I get that products which say they contain ethanol and actually contain methanol too should be withdrawn because people will drink them, but the skin absorption thing sounds a bit like OTT scaremongering.
On the other hand, things which contain ethanol but don't want to be taxed as alcoholic beverages need to have the alcohol denatured in some way to render it undrinkable.

ETA I would expect that the ones sold here use something to make it unpleasant rather than actually poisonous, and that this might not work in places where the alcoholism is more desperate.

And no I don't expect that there's a significant danger from skin contact, and it's only sort of implied in the article without being explicitly stated.
Meths in the UK has changed its formulation in the UK - in 2013:
From Wiki
Formulations
Diverse additives are used to make it difficult to use distillation or other simple processes to reverse the denaturation. Methanol is commonly used both because its boiling point is close to that of ethanol and because it is toxic. Another typical denaturant is pyridine. Often the denatured alcohol is dyed with methyl violet.[8]

There are several grades of denatured alcohol, but in general the denaturants used are similar. As an example, the formulation for completely denatured alcohol, according to 2005 British regulations was as follows:[9]

Completely denatured alcohol must be made in accordance with the following formulation: with every 90 parts by volume of alcohol mix 9.5 parts by volume of wood naphtha or a substitute and 0.5 parts by volume of crude pyridine, and to the resulting mixture add mineral naphtha (petroleum oil) in the proportion of 3.75 litres to every 1000 litres of the mixture and synthetic organic dyestuff (methyl violet) in the proportion of 1.5 grams to every 1000 litres of the mixture.

The European Union agreed in February 2013 to the mutual procedures for the complete denaturing of alcohol:[10]

Per hectolitre (100 L) of absolute ethanol: 3 litres of isopropyl alcohol, 3 litres of methyl ethyl ketone and 1 gram denatonium benzoate.

There was quite a lot of discussion in camping forums about this
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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science_fox
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Re: Poisonous disinfectant

Post by science_fox » Mon Jul 27, 2020 8:25 am

Methanol is one of those odd lab 'chemicals' that's widely used especially in my building by biologists* without much care, but the MSDS is pretty strict - "https://beta-static.fishersci.com/conte ... 25426A.pdf"

You will absorb it through the skin and it will have effects if you do so. A few ml probably isn't too bad, as the LD50 is 15g/Kg so you'd need a 1 L exposure to be at risk of dying. If you're using a gel many times a day, every day I would change product.





* "all those (other) risk assessments are just like methanol and I use that all the time" - to which my reply was read the RA for methanol properly!

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Re: Poisonous disinfectant

Post by Brightonian » Fri Oct 23, 2020 5:43 pm

My father in Ireland has told me of a new scandal there about ViraPro, a sanitising hand gel which ""may cause dermatitis, eye irritation, upper respiratory system irritation and headaches". Seems "Some of the product contains methanol rather than ethanol". He's stopped using a big, expensive bottle of gel from a reputable pharmacy because although it says "70% ethanol" it also "contains methanol", but I don't know whether he's overreacting.

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Re: Poisonous disinfectant

Post by Brightonian » Fri Dec 04, 2020 7:39 am


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Martin Y
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Re: Poisonous disinfectant

Post by Martin Y » Fri Dec 04, 2020 11:52 am

I must say, I'm heartened that the supermarket brands contained the claimed and effective levels of alcohol rather than surprised that off-brand eBay stuff turned out to be useless crap.

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Re: Poisonous disinfectant

Post by jimbob » Fri Dec 04, 2020 1:08 pm

Martin Y wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 11:52 am
I must say, I'm heartened that the supermarket brands contained the claimed and effective levels of alcohol rather than surprised that off-brand eBay stuff turned out to be useless crap.
likewise
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

AMS
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Re: Poisonous disinfectant

Post by AMS » Fri Dec 04, 2020 6:54 pm

I suspect the fact that supermarkets need to source stuff in large quantities is a factor, as it will mean they are more tied to volume manufacturers that actually know what they're doing.

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Re: Poisonous disinfectant

Post by OneOffDave » Fri Dec 04, 2020 7:05 pm

There's been a case in Russia in mid-November of eight people dying after drinking hand sanitiser when the alcohol ran out . Apparently it contained 69% methanol as opposed to the Russian legal limit of 3.5% methanol in hand sanitiser. Local authorities have seized 4,800 litres of the same product so far - Reported by Promed

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Re: Poisonous disinfectant

Post by sTeamTraen » Sat Dec 05, 2020 9:46 pm

OneOffDave wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 7:05 pm
There's been a case in Russia in mid-November of eight people dying after drinking hand sanitiser when the alcohol ran out . Apparently it contained 69% methanol as opposed to the Russian legal limit of 3.5% methanol in hand sanitiser. Local authorities have seized 4,800 litres of the same product so far - Reported by Promed
Ireland had to recall a huge amount of hand sanitiser a few weeks ago when it was found to have methanol in it. I never realised before that that methanol could be dangerous even if applied externally.
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