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Health Canada suspends licence, issues recall for hand sanitizer containing ‘elevated levels’ of methanol

TORONTO — Health Canada has issued a recall and suspended the licence for PURE75 gel hand sanitizer after learning the product contains “elevated levels” of methanol that can cause serious health issues.

In a recall notice issued Thursday, the agency said tests conducted on the product found it contains the “undeclared impurity” of methanol, which is not authorized for use in hand sanitizers in Canada.

“Frequent exposure to hand sanitizers containing elevated levels of methanol may cause skin irritation, eye irritation, breathing problems, and headaches. If swallowed, methanol can cause severe adverse reactions, including death,” Health Canada warned.

By suspending the product licence for the hand sanitizer, Health Canada says it is now illegal for any person or company to sell this product in the country.

The agency said PURE75 gel hand sanitizer’s label is also missing important safety information and directions for use, including the following:

  • Children less than two years of age should not use this product
  • Supervise children when they use this product
  • Call a poison control centre and get medical help if product is swallowed
  • Keep away from open flames and sources of heat; and
  • Use the product occasionally

The affected products are imported by Haywick Industries and have the Natural product Number (NPN) 80098346. Health Canada said it will identify Canadians if additional products or safety concerns are identified.

Health Canada said it has requested Haywick Industries to stop selling the hand sanitizer and recall the product, however, the company has not yet complied with this request.

Health Canada is advising retailers to stop selling the affected product and consumers to stop using it immediately.

“Consult a health care professional if you have used it and have health concerns. If the product is swallowed, call a poison control centre or seek medical help immediately. Keep all hand sanitizers out of the reach of children,” Health Canada said.

Canadians are asked to consult their municipal or regional guidelines on how to properly dispose of the products. The products can also be returned to local pharmacies for disposal.

Health Canada has released a full list of sanitizers approved for sale in Canada and another list of acceptable products, which may not meet full regulatory requirements but are safe for use and will help meet national demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health officials continue to advise Canadians to regularly wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to limit the spread of COVID-19. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used if soap and water is not available.

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