MILWAUKEE, Wis. — The Wisconsin Poison Control Center has received an increase in the number calls of people being poisoned from drinking hand sanitizer.
Clinical Toxicologist Matthew Stanton said since June 1, there have been nearly 200 calls about this. Stanton said during the same time period last year, there were 65 calls.
Stanton said the increase is due to many hand sanitizers being improperly manufactured to contain methanol.
“The issue that poison centers are having is that there is no methanol label listed anywhere on the product,” Stanton said.
Stanton said since hand sanitizers were in short supply, other non-traditional companies started making them with methanol. Stanton said it’s not possible for the consumer to tell which products contain the ingredient.
Stanton added that although it is possible to get sick from using the methanol-containing hand sanitizer on your skin, most people who are being poisoned by it are drinking it.
“Adults may drink some of those products if they don’t have enough ethanol available,” Stanton said. “If a child gets a small amount of just an ethanol containing hand sanitizer, they can exhibit symptoms of inebriation and low blood sugar.”
Stanton said proper use of the hand sanitizer should not cause someone to become sick. Experts also suggest buying hand sanitizer from a reputable company.
The FDA compiled a list of recalled hand sanitizers containing methanol. You can find that list by scrolling to the bottom of this page.
If you experience difficulty seeing, nausea, vomiting or headaches after using/ consuming hand sanitizer, call the Wisconsin Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.