Three people died and one is permanently blind from methanol poisoning after drinking hand sanitizer in New Mexico, health officials said.
An additional three people are in critical condition, the New Mexico Department of Health said in a statement. “All seven people are believed to have drunk hand sanitizer containing methanol,” it said.
The cases were reported to New Mexico Poison Control over several weeks in May, and are related to alcoholism, health officials said. They did not provide additional details on the victims or where the incidents happened.
If you think you may have used or consumed hand sanitizer containing methanol, please seek medical care,” state health Secretary Kathy Kunkel said in a statement. “An antidote to methanol poisoning is available, but the earlier someone gets treated for methanol poisoning the better the chance of recovery.”
Some people have been known to use hand sanitizer to get intoxicated due to its alcohol content. Before the pandemic, hand sanitizer was banned in most prisons based on fears that inmates would drink it or use it to start fires. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that facilities consider relaxing restrictions on alcohol-based sanitizer to help combat coronavirus.