The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned Nigerians against using alcohol-based hand sanitisers produced or imported from Mexico.
The warning was issued in a public alert statement signed by Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General of NAFDAC, on Monday.
According to the agency, the US Food and Drug Agency (USFDA) had placed all alcohol-based hand sanitisers from Mexico on its watchlist due to the ingredients used in manufacturing the product.
The USFDA, as noted by NAFDAC, said the products were labelled as containing ethanol but were found to have methanol contamination.
NAFDAC noted methanol is not approved for medications, warning that it is toxic and could be life-threatening if absorbed through the skin into the body system.
The alert raid: “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 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.”
NAFDAC warned that all persons using the products on their hands were at risk of methanol poisoning, which could result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death.
It, therefore, asked importers, distributors, retailers, and consumers to exercise caution and be vigilant to avoid the distribution, sale and use of methanol alcohol-based hand sanitisers.
It also warned those in possession of such products to discontinue the sale or use and to submit the stock to the nearest NAFDAC office.