SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Three people are dead, three in critical condition and a seventh is permanently blind due to methanol poisoning from hand sanitizer, The New Mexico Department of Health reports.
All seven people apparently drank the substance, the NMDH stated. The department says the first case was reported to the New Mexico Poison Control Center on May 7.
The other six cases have happened since May 29.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently advised the public to not use nine brands of hand sanitizers that were discovered to contain methanol. Individuals who have purchased any of those brands of hand sanitizer are urged to stop using them and to dispose of them as you would hazardous waste.
NMDOH reports that in addition to the nine brands of hand sanitizer, non-commercially produced or bootlegged hand sanitizer may also contain methanol.
“If you think you may have used or consumed hand sanitizer containing methanol, please seek medical care,” said Dept. of Health Cabinet Secretary Kathy Kunkel in a press release. “An antidote to methanol poisoning is available, but the earlier someone gets treated for methanol poisoning the better the chance of recovery.”
It’s not clear what led the individuals to ingest the toxic substance, but health officials have previously noted that hand sanitizer has been consumed as a substitute for alcohol.