In theory, the rise of hand sanitizer options over the past year-plus would be a promising sign to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. But as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has tirelessly shown in that same span, not all hand sanitizer quality is equal — let alone safe for use. 

The FDA’s list of hand sanitizers consumers should not use quickly shot up from single digits to over 100 in the opening stages of the pandemic, and has since jumped up to 255, Newsweek reports. While a large percentage of these recalled hand sanitizers originated in Mexico, others have come from other regions of the world including China. Others come from the U.S. itself, notably from Georgia, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida.

FDA parameters recommend at least 60 percent alcohol for acceptable hand sanitizers, but the administration noted other causes for concern that lead to sanitizers making the do-not-use list.

The FDA recommends immediate medical attention for exposure to hand sanitizer containing methanol — noting symptoms including headache, vomiting, nervous system damage or possibly death.

The FDA also recommends a minimum of 20 seconds washing hands with warm water and soap as the primary method of hand hygiene. For advice on how to pick the right hand sanitizer, click here