The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a warning against drinking hand sanitizers containing methanol, which can cause blindness and death, following a series of incidents, Fox News reports.
“Swallowing hand sanitizers that contain methanol can cause permanent blindness or death, if not treated. People should immediately discontinue use of hand sanitizers recalled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the CDC said on Wednesday.
The FDA has banned methanol-based hand sanitizers, “but some products imported into the United States have been found to contain” the chemical.
The announcement follows over a dozen instances in which people in Arizona and New Mexico were hospitalized after swallowing hand sanitizer that contained methanol, according to the agency. Four of these patients died, three have been “discharged with visual impairment.”
“Alcohol-based hand sanitizer products should never be ingested. In patients with compatible signs and symptoms or after having swallowed hand sanitizer, prompt evaluation for methanol poisoning is required,” the CDC said. “Health departments in all states should coordinate with poison centers to identify cases of methanol poisoning.”
The agency also notes that “Swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizer products containing methanol can cause life-threatening methanol poisoning. Young children might unintentionally swallow these products, whereas adolescents or adults with history of alcohol use disorder might intentionally swallow these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute.”
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