Drinking toxic hand sanitizer KILLED four people in Arizona and New Mexico and left 11 in the hospital
Eleven people were hospitalized in Arizona and New Mexico, and four died after drinking toxic hand sanitizer, a new report reveals.
The cleaning products contain methanol, which is a type of alcohol that can be toxic if absorbed or ingested by the skin.
Health officials say exposure to methanol-based hand sanitizer can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system, or even death.
Of the 15 adults, four were discharged without complications, four remained hospitalized on July 8, three were discharged with vision loss and four died, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed Wednesday.
A new CDC report reveals that 15 adults in Arizona and New Mexico have been hospitalized after drinking hand sanitizer with methanol. Four were discharged without any problems, three were discharged with vision loss, four were hospitalized on July 8, and four died (file image)
Alcohol based hand sanitizers typically contain ethanol or isopropanol, which are disinfectants that are effective in killing microbes, bacteria and other microorganisms.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates hand sanitizer, does not consider methanol an “acceptable ingredient.”
“Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and should not be used due to its toxic effects,” the FDA said in a letter published in June warning Americans not to use nine hand sanitizers that contain methanol.
“Consumers exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol should seek immediate treatment, which is critical to the potential reversal of the toxic effects of methanol poisoning.”
For its report, the CDC and state partners reviewed the poison center’s call records from May 1 to June 30, 2020 for cases of alcohol poisoning from alcohol-based hand disinfection.
Investigators found 15 such cases in Arizona and New Mexico, all of which were hospitalized. The mean age was 43 years and of the 15 patients, 13 were men.
According to the report, all patients had swallowed alcoholic hand sanitizers in the past, but the details of these histories remain unclear.
Normal blood alcohol levels are between 0 and 50 milligrams per deciliter (mg / dL), but in the patients five were below 50 mg / dL and the remaining 10 were between 58 mg / dL and 548 mg / dL.
All have also experienced metabolic acidosis, which occurs when the body produces too much acid or when the kidneys do not remove enough acid from the body.
Six patients developed seizures during their hospitalization. Three remained in the hospital on July 8, while eight were discharged.
The four patients who died were three men aged 35, 39 and 65 and a woman aged 38.
In one case, a 44-year-old man went to a healthcare facility after reporting a visual impairment.
Then, a few days before his symptoms appeared, he reported drinking an unknown amount of alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
The man was hospitalized with metabolic acidosis and a blood methanol concentration of 97 mg / dL.
He was discharged after six days, but doctors say he has almost total vision loss. that will be permanent.
“This study highlights the serious adverse health events, including death, that can occur after ingestion of alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing methanol,” the CDC wrote in its report.
“Safety notices to prevent you from swallowing an alcohol-based hand sanitizer should continue.”
Methanol poisons are not common, but they do occur. More than 1,700 cases occurred in the US in 2013.
In January 2016, two high school students in Tennessee died after ingesting a mixture of Mountain Dew and methanol, believed to be from racing fuel.
In addition, in April 2018, a Massachusetts man died after consuming alcohol contaminated with methanol.