The recent COVID-19 pandemic has caused a surge in demand for alcohol-based hand solutions (hand sanitiser) which is commonly used in the community and healthcare settings to maintain hand hygiene.
Sanitiser normally contains ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, n-propyl alcohol, or combinations of these chemicals.
Cambodia media has reported that many individuals and businesses are making and selling alcohol-based products with illicit or inappropriate ingredients that do not provide adequate protection.
One such illicit ingredient sometimes included in hand sanitisers is methanol to which oral, pulmonary and/or skin exposures can result in severe systemic toxicity and even death.
Sporadic cases of acute poisoning reported recently in Cambodia indicate that alcohol-based hand solutions with undeclared methanol may already be in the market.
The unexpected presence of methanol poses a serious threat to public health. SMCS RISK advises people to use caution and good judgement when purchasing hand sanitiser and buy from reputable and established businesses.
If illegal products are identified, please contact local authorities.