Three dead and one blinded after drinking hand sanitiser containing methanol

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Three dead and one blinded after drinking hand sanitiser containing methanol

Three people have reportedly died and one left permanently blind after drinking hand sanitiser.

Health officials say the fatalities, which occurred in New Mexico, were linked to methanol poisoning, CNN reports.

Another three people who are believed to have drunk the product are in a critical condition, the state’s Department of Health says.

The incidents are thought to be related to alcoholism.

They were reported to New Mexico Poison Control over a period of several weeks in May.

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“All seven people are believed to have drunk hand sanitiser containing methanol,” the Department of Health said in a statement.

Details on who the victims are and where the incidents took place have not been released.

However, some people have been known to resort to alcohol-based hand sanitiser to get intoxicated.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the product was banned in most US prisons out of fears inmates might drink it or use it to start fires.

“If you think you may have used or consumed hand sanitiser containing methanol, please seek medical care,” New Mexico health secretary Kathy Kunkel said.

Three dead and one blinded after drinking hand sanitiser containing methanol 1

“An antidote to methanol poisoning is available, but the earlier someone gets treated for methanol poisoning the better the chance of recovery.”

Global sales of hand sanitiser have skyrocketed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

But earlier this week, the US Food and Drug Administration warned against using products manufactured by Eskbiochem SA due to the possible presence of methanol.

Officials discovered the toxic chemical in samples of sanitisers produced by the Mexican company.

Methanol can be dangerous if significant amounts are ingested or absorbed through the skin, potentially resulting in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures or coma.

It comes after US President Donald Trump raised the possibility of using disinfectant inside people’s bodies to fight coronavirus in April.

Trump said scientists should explore whether inserting light or disinfectant into the bodies of people infected with the new coronavirus might help them treat the respiratory illness caused by the virus.

He later claimed that he made the comments “sarcastically” to “reporters just like you to see what would happen.”

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