3 people are in critical condition and one person is blind in New Mexico after drinking hand sanitizer that contained methanol. The New Mexico Health Department announced last week that 3 New Mexicans have died after ingesting hand sanitizer containing methanol. KOAT Action News reported that seven people ingested the tainted hand sanitizer. In total, three people died, one person is now blind, and 3 are still in critical condition after drinking the hand sanitizer. The first case was reported by the state on May 7th and the other 6 cases were reported on May 29th. CNN reported that New Mexico Health officials reported the deaths are likely related to alcoholism.

Earlier last week, the FDA put out a warning telling consumers to throw out 9 brands of hand sanitizer for containing methanol. Methanol can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or if ingested and should not be used in hand sanitizer according to the FDA. Symptoms of methanol exposure include: nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, and coma. Severe methanol exposure can result in permanent damage to the nervous system or even death.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hand sanitizer is more readily available to many in New Mexico and across the country. Many businesses have hand sanitizer available, which is probably how these New Mexicans who ingested it were able to get their hands on some. Or they may have just purchased the bottles themselves. Drinking hand sanitizer is never safe and should never be done. If you or someone you know has ingested hand sanitizer, please call the Poison Control Helpline at 1 (800) 222-1222.

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