Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY
Published 8:18 a.m. ET Aug. 6, 2020 | Updated 8:31 a.m. ET Aug. 7, 2020
The FDA has expanded its list of hand sanitizer products to avoid because they may contain toxic methanol.
People are getting sick and dying after drinking hand sanitizer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report Wednesday saying that four people have died and nearly a dozen others have suffered health complications after swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizers in recent months.
From May through June 30, there were 15 cases of methanol poisoning reported in Arizona and New Mexico, and each was associated with people drinking hand sanitizer, the agency said. The CDC says hand sanitizers should contain ethanol or isopropanol as active ingredients, but some products imported from other countries contain methanol, which is “not an acceptable ingredient.”
The ages of the patients ranged from 21 to 65, and 13 of them were men, the agency said. Among the four patients who died, three had seizures when they arrived at the hospital. Three other patients were discharged with vision loss.
“This investigation highlights the serious adverse health events, including death, that can occur after ingesting alcohol-based hand sanitizer products containing methanol,” the report said.
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The FDA has maintained a list of hand sanitizers to avoid, in part due to methanol content.
The CDC says washing and disinfecting your hands is an effective way to combat the spread of COVID-19. Ingesting hand sanitizer is not. It remains unclear why the people in question were drinking hand sanitizer, though the CDC says some people drink it for its alcohol content.
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The documented incidents occurred after President Donald Trump suggested during an April White House coronavirus briefing that disinfectant might be a good treatment option.
“I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute,” Trump said.
The CDC and disinfectant maker Lysol struck down the president’s suggestion soon after the statement was made.
“We must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route),” Lysol said in a statement.
Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown.
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