SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico Department of Health reports that there have been three recent deaths from menthol poisoning. There is also one person who is permanently blind and three that are in critical condition.
NMDOH states that all seven people are believed to have drunk hand sanitizer that contained methanol. The department says that all of the cases were reported to the New Mexico Poison Control Center in May with the first case being reported on May 7.
The other six cases have happened since May 29. Using hand sanitizers that contain methanol for any other purpose may result in poisoning.
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.”
Healthcare providers who believe a patient may have methanol poisoning should contact the New Mexico Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.