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:

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  • 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.

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(12) comments

Raul Alverez

That is exactly what they are saying in the press release! Don't drink it! https://eskbiochem.co Next gas stations will have to post No Drinking Gasoline signs next to the No Smoking signs.

Ramon David

What is the state doing to keep this stuff from being sold? For those who just blame people for drinking it, it is also toxic when absorbed through the skin. This hand sanitizer is tainted. hand sanitizer should not include methanol.

Better articles in the New York Times:



Warren Farrell

Why are we avoiding the elephant in the room? The people drinking the hand sanitizer are alcoholics, and I would bet they have no clue what methanol is. I would also venture to say they aren’t stealing the sanitizer, it was given to them: free buzz. Now, to really point out the obvious: San Juan, McKinley and Cibola counties. Alcoholism is an issue that those communities struggle with. The saddest part of this story in my opinion, is the generational devastation to families. I have lived it.

Kathy Fish

It's sad to see mocking comments and three smiley responses to this article. Yeah, drinking hand sanitizer is a bad idea, but three people are dead now. The cruelty reflected in comments and folks' responses is the real tragedy here. Welcome to America, everyone: The land of the hateful.

Ed Li

Thanks for the tone trolling Karen, I mean Kathy. You can go back to clutching your pearls now.

David Ford

Yes it is sad. However Dr orange trump did suggest that it might help - from a purely scientific standpoint of course.....the easily influenced among us can be fooled even by that suggestion, and alcoholics or not "someone said" it could maybe be a good idea to ingest it or inject it....

Dan Chase

If you are stupid enough to drink hand sanitizer, TRUMP, then you should breathe my air!

Pawel Fludzinski

Tragic outcome, but a very (!) misleading headline. Many household items would be "toxic" if ingested - gasoline, toilet bowl cleaner, bug spray, etc. etc. etc. The headline should not place the onus on the hand sanitizer; but rather, serve as a warning to others to NOT ingest sanitizer. Perhaps: "Hand sanatizer, when ingested, proved toxic".

Andrew Lucero

This is nothing more than the effects of Social Darwinism. The knuckle draggers are thinning themselves out the herd.

Khal Spencer

It appears they drank the stuff. People have been doing that for a long time, i.e., drinking Sterno, etc. Sad but true.

Chris Morgan

This is a pathetic headline. It is no different than saying toxic gasoline kills four people.. after they doused themselves with a gallon of gasoline and then lit their shoes on fire. Please editor, edit the headline. You are losing what little integrity you have left.

PCL Larragoite

My thoughts exactly

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