New Mexico: Methanol-containing hand sanitizer consumption kills three, blinds one, and critically affects three alcoholics!
Agencies have reported a high number of methanol poisoning cases in New Mexico. It was not due to bootlegging. But the cases were due to consumption of alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing methanol. Due to COVID – 19 and the lockdown, alcohol was difficult to get. Hence alcohol-addicted individuals drank hand sanitizers instead and reported ill. Three have died, one has become permanently blind, and three are in a critical state in hospital.
New Mexico – high incidence of methanol poisoning
Just one week back, the USA Food and Drug Administration warned against purchase of 9 hand sanitizers which contain methanol instead of the recommended ethanol. These include All-Clean Hand Sanitizer, Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer, CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75 percent alcohol, Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer, The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer, CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80 percent alcohol, CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75 percent alcohol, CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80 percent alcohol, and Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer.
Methanol is toxic if ingested or absorbed via the skin surface. And now, New Mexico Department of Health announced that increasing cases of methanol toxicity due to consumption of some specific hand sanitizers are reported.
More about New Mexico’s hand sanitizer related methanol poisoning
In May and June, there have been increasing cases of hand sanitizer-related methanol poisoning cases reported from New Mexico. Three have died, three are in a critical state in the ICU, and one has become permanently blind. The first case came on 7 May 2020. And the remaining 6 cases were after 29 May. The New Mexico department of Health stated:
“All seven people are believed to have drunk hand sanitizer containing methanol,”
The victims had consumed hand sanitizer due to the high alcohol content in it. Normally, hand sanitizers have more than 60% ethanol or isopropyl alcohol in it. The cases were all patients of alcohol dependency and addiction. Due to lockdown of coronavirus, alcohol was difficult to procure. Hence these individuals consumed hand sanitizers instead and suffered the ill-effects of methanol content of it. These cases were from two states and multiple counties.
Methanol and the toxicity
State Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel stated:
“If you think you may have used or consumed hand sanitizer containing methanol, please seek medical care. An antidote to methanol poisoning is available, but the earlier someone gets treated for methanol poisoning the better the chance of recovery.”
Methanol can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, blurring of vision, permanent blindness, convulsions, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system and even death. Additionally, it can lead to kidney damage.
Health care providers who suspect a patient to suffer from methanol poisoning should reach out and report the case to the state Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222. People should read the contents of the hand sanitizer before buying it. Avoid the 9 brands which USA FDA has blacklisted due to their methanol content.