Three people dead after drinking hand sanitiser

Three people have been confirmed dead and three are in a critical condition after drinking hand sanitiser which contained methanol, authorities have said.

In addition to the three deaths and three critical cases, another person is now permanently blind after ingesting the disinfectant in the US state of New Mexico.

The state health department said the cases were reported to the New Mexico Poison Control Centre, with the first coming in early May.

The other cases have occurred since May 29.

Three people in New Mexico have died after ingesting hand sanitiser. Source: Getty Images

Authorities noted people with substance abuse issues, particularly within the homeless community, have been known to use sanitiser as a substitute for alcohol or liquor.

According to CNN, prior to the coronavirus pandemic hand sanitiser was banned from most prisons in the US for this reason.

The health department has confirmed the cases are related to alcoholism, according to the Associated Press.

Health officials have warned against drinking hand sanitiser, and said the use of hand sanitisers containing methanol for any purpose may result in poisoning.

The US Food and Drug Administration recently warned consumers not to use nine brands of sanitisers that contained methanol.

A toxic form of alcohol, methanol can cause kidney damage, blindness and death. It may be fatal when inhaled, applied topically or ingested.

State Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel said there is an antidote, but the earlier someone gets treated for methanol poisoning, the better the chance of recovery.

With Associated Press

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