It’s Your Call August 2020

OSHA: What brands of sanitizer contain methanol?

The FDA urges consumers not to use sanitizers with methanol. The current list of brands to be avoided can be found on their webpage: The CDC has also stated that alcohol concentrations should be a minimum of either 60% ethanol and 70% isopropanol.

Methanol, or wood alcohol, can be toxic when absorbed thru the skin or ingested. It has led to recent adverse events including blindness, hospitalizations, and death. Methanol exposure could also lead to nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, seizures, coma, and permanent damage to the nervous system. If you have been exposed to a product containing methanol, you may need to seek medical advice.

HIPAA: We have an employee who refuses to trim his beard for religious reasons while wearing an N95 mask. How should we handle this given the current exposure risk with COVID-19?

The Conscience and Religious Freedom Division at Health and Human Services (HHS) recently addressed a similar scenario which allowed for employee accommodations. A Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) could be offered to your worker, as these can be used with a facial beard and offers greater protection than an N95. Considering this or comparable solutions will preserve religious freedom and employee safety.