A product that is supposed to help save lives has proved deadly in New Mexico.
Hand sanitizer laced with toxic methanol has killed three people, permanently blinded one and left three others in critical condition, the state Department of Health said Friday.
All seven people are believed to have drunk the methanol-tainted hand sanitizer.
The cases were reported in May in San Juan, McKinley and Cibola counties, state health officials said. One victim’s residence is unknown.
“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.”
Hand sanitizer is in high demand to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, increasing the risk of consumers buying toxic versions, health officials said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises consumers not to use these nine brands of hand sanitizers found to contain methanol:
- All-Clean Hand Sanitizer
- Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75 percent alcohol (National Drug Code: 74589-008-04)
- Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer
- The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80 percent alcohol (NDC: 74589-005-03)
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75 percent alcohol (NDC: 74589-009-01)
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80 percent alcohol (NDC: 74589-003-01)
- Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer
If you have bought any of these brands, you should dispose of them in the trash and not pour them down a drain or into a toilet.
People also should beware of bootlegged hand sanitizers that may contain methanol.
Methanol, a toxic form of alcohol, is a colorless, watery liquid with a strong odor.
It occurs naturally in humans, animals and plants but is also manufactured as a solvent, pesticide and alternative fuel source, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It is most often deadly when ingested but is still highly toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin, the CDC says. It can cause kidney damage, blindness and death.
Health care providers who suspect a patient may have methanol poisoning should contact the state Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222.