WASHINGTON — New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that adults have gotten sick and some have even died recently after drinking hand sanitizers containing methanol.
The CDC report details the cases of 15 adults in Arizona and New Mexico who were hospitalized between May and June for methanol poisoning after drinking hand sanitizers.
Methanol, or wood alcohol, can be toxic when absorbed through the skin and is potentially deadly when ingested.
Four of the patients died and three suffered at least some vision loss, according to CDC researchers.
"Alcohol-based hand sanitizer products should never be ingested," the CDC stressed in its report. The researchers noted some children may unintentionally swallow hand sanitizer, while some adults may incorrectly think it could be a good alcohol substitute.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned repeatedly in recent weeks that certain hand sanitizers should be avoided completely because the products contain methanol.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted Thursday that everyone should "immediately discontinue" use of hand sanitizers recalled by the FDA.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, hand sanitizer sales have surged and the CDC recommended the use of hand sanitizer to clean your hands when soap and water are not readily available.
Six of the patients in the CDC report had seizures while at the hospital and three were eventually discharged with at least some form of vision loss. Four patients in the report remained hospitalized as of July 8.
The average age was 43 and 13 of the cases were men.
The CDC stressed that hand sanitizer should never be swallowed.
"Swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizer products, including those that do not contain methanol, might also lead to serious illness and outcomes, including death," the researchers wrote.
This isn't the first time the CDC has issued a stark warning about Americans using cleaning supplies in dangerous ways. Just two months ago, the CDC warned some Americans had admitted to gargling or drinking bleach in an attempt to protect themselves from the coronavirus.