Fifteen adults have been poisoned after drinking hand sanitizer that contained methanol, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday.
Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a toxic chemical that can lead to hospitalization or death if ingested.
The Food and Drug Administration first warned of hand sanitizers with possible methanol contamination in June, citing nine products from Mexico. Since then, the list has grown to 115. The CDC recommends hand sanitizers that contain either ethanol or isopropanol, which are also alcohols, but not methanol. Hand sanitizer should never be ingested.
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The CDC report included 15 cases of methanol poisoning in New Mexico and Arizona that occurred in May and June. The average age was 43, and 13 of the cases were in men. Several of the cases were among American Indians/Alaska Natives, though the report does not detail the exact number. All 15 individuals were hospitalized, and four people died. Another three developed vision problems, a known side effect of methanol poisoning.