Health officials in the US state of New Mexico said that three people died and three others are still in critical condition and one person was permanently blinded after drinking a hand sanitizer containing methanol, according to ABC News.
The state’s Ministry of Health said the cases were reported to the New Mexico Poison Control Center, and the first case was registered in early May. Other cases have occurred since May 29. The Ministry of Health confirmed that the cases were related to alcoholism. The authorities noted that people with drug abuse problems, especially within the homeless community, are known to use antiseptics and other products as an alternative to alcoholic beverages.
Health officials have warned against drinking hand sanitizers, and said that the use of hand antiseptics containing methanol for any purpose may lead to poisoning.
The US Food and Drug Administration recently warned consumers not to use nine types of methanol sterilizers.
Methanol, a toxic form of alcohol, can cause kidney damage, blindness, and death. It may be fatal when inhaled or ingested.
The state’s health minister, Cathy Conquel, said that the faster a person suffering from methanol poisoning is treated, the better the chance of recovery.