The liability of selling or dispensing dangerous hand sanitizer

On Behalf of | Aug 3, 2020 | Liability Defense |

When you hear the term “defective products,” it may conjure images of broken cars or exploding slow cookers. In the field of premises liability, you may think of slips and falls or dangerous equipment. But what if the issue is a dangerous chemical? 

The need for hand sanitizer is at a peak in 2020. Customers are buying what they need and using it while on-site. But as summer months go on, the FDA has been recalling more and more products that connect to cases of nausea and hospitalization. NBC New York reports on the expanding list of hand sanitizers that involve replacing ethyl alcohol with methanol. 

A danger through the skin

Reports link 10 deaths and several hospitalizations to toxic concentrations of methanol in hand sanitizers. Methanol poisoning’s effects include permanent blindness, seizures and permanent damage to the nervous system with enough substantial exposure. 

Methanol is a type of wood alcohol that a body absorbs through consumption or even through the skin. The FDA identified nearly 90 products with methanol and issued a warning to consumers to check that their hand sanitizer contains zero methanol and at least 60% ethyl alcohol. 

The report mentions that many of these cases involve children eating the dangerous sanitizer in question. 

The FDA recommends that anyone suspected of consuming or using methanol-based sanitizers seek immediate medical attention. 

A liability to businesses

Marketing and selling these products obviously involves the process of recalling them now that the FDA demands it. Any injuries or health risks these defective products cause may come back on the production company. Purchasing these products and dispensing them to your customers on-site may elicit a liability claim. 

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