SC poison center sees increase in calls about children ingesting hand sanitizer amid pandemic

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UPSTATE, S.C. (WSPA) – The FDA released new information concerning traces of a harmful ingredients found in a growing list of over 75 hand sanitizers.

Methanol, an ingredient typically used to create fuel or anti-freeze, can be toxic when absorbed by the skin and could potentially cause life-threatening illnesses.

Many of the hand sanitizers tested did not explicitly list methanol in the ingredients on their labels.

In severe cases, exposure to methanol could result in blindness, seizures, permanent damage to the nervous system or death. Some of the symptoms include nausea, vomiting and headaches.

According to Jill Michels, managing director of the Palmetto Poison Center, they haven’t received any calls from any SC residents having methanol related issues with these sanitizers.

“What you should be buying is ethanol or isopropyl based hand sanitizers. Methanol is what we call a toxic alcohol that when you initially ingest it, it works like an alcohol and can cause inebriation effects. It’s metabolized in the body to harmful chemicals,” Michels said.

However, since the start of the pandemic in March, they’ve seen an increase in the amount of calls from parents with small children who’ve ingested hand sanitizer.

“Since we’re trying to mitigate what’s going on, people are using it more and it’s in everybody’s environment. People have it at their house, in their purse and car and most of our calls are little children and toddlers,” Michels said.

Experts urge those who may have ingested hand sanitizer with methanol and are having symptoms to seek medical help immediately.

For a full list of hand sanitizers with methanol, please click here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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