Coronavirus: 3 people in New Mexico die after drinking hand sanitizer

Coronavirus: 3 people in New Mexico die after drinking hand sanitizer
Three people who drank hand sanitizer containing methanol have died, health officials in New Mexico said. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images)

Three people are dead, three others are in critical condition and one person is permanently blind after allegedly drinking hand sanitizer that contained methanol, New Mexico health officials confirmed Friday.

The New Mexico Department of Health said all of the cases were reported to the New Mexico Poison Control Center, KRQE reported. The first case was reported on May 7, while the other six cases have been reported since May 29, health officials said.

“If you think you may have used or consumed hand sanitizer containing methanol, please seek medical care,” Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Kathy Kunkel said in a news release. “An antidote to methanol poisoning is available, but the earlier someone gets treated for methanol poisoning the better the chance of recovery.”

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Hand sanitizers containing methanol can result in poisoning, the television station reported. Methanol can cause blindness, kidney damage and even death. Methanol is most dangerous when ingested, according to KOAT.

In April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a statement warning consumers not to use nine brands of sanitizers that contained methanol.

“We appreciate industry’s willingness to help supply alcohol-based hand sanitizer to the market to meet the increasing demand for these products and are grateful for their efforts,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn said. “With this increased supply comes our continued mission to ensure safety of these products. It is important that hand sanitizer be manufactured in a way that makes them unpalatable to people, especially young children, and that they are appropriately labeled to discourage accidental or intentional ingestion. Additionally, hand sanitizers are not proven to treat COVID-19, and like other products meant for external use, are not for ingestion, inhalation, or intravenous use.”