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FDA warns people not to drink hand sanitizer sold in beer cans

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to drink hand sanitizer that’s flavored like their favorite snack or comes in familiar-looking packaging.

The FDA said it has discovered some hand sanitizers are being packaged in beer cans, vodka bottles and even children’s food pouches. 

Some versions are branded like chocolate bars, Mike & Ikes, Blow Pops, Tootsie Rolls, Smarties and other candies. 

The agency said the confusing packaging could case consumers, especially kids, to accidentally ingest ‘a potentially deadly product.’

Officials say exposure to methanol-based hand sanitizer can cause nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, blindness, seizures, comas, damage to the central nervous system and even death.  

The FDA said some hand sanitizers are being sold in beer cans, vodka bottles and even children's food pouches. It warns the confusing packaging can lead to a consumer accidentally ingesting a potentially deadly substance.

The FDA said some hand sanitizers are being sold in beer cans, vodka bottles and even children’s food pouches. It warns the confusing packaging can lead to a consumer accidentally ingesting a potentially deadly substance.

FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn said he was ‘increasingly concerned’ about hand sanitizer being packaged like consumable products.’

‘These products could confuse consumers into accidentally ingesting a potentially deadly product.’

‘It’s dangerous to add scents with food flavors to hand sanitizers which children could think smells like food, eat and get alcohol poisoning.’ 

In one example cited, sanitizer was marketed with cartoon characters and came in a pouch similar to a kid’s juice box.

Some sanitizers are branded and scented like Tootsie Rolls, chocolate bars, Mike&Ike, Smarties and other candies. 'It's dangerous to add scents with food flavors to hand sanitizers which children could think smells like food, eat and get alcohol poisoning,' said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn

Some sanitizers are branded and scented like Tootsie Rolls, chocolate bars, Mike&Ike, Smarties and other candies. ‘It’s dangerous to add scents with food flavors to hand sanitizers which children could think smells like food, eat and get alcohol poisoning,’ said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn

In another case, a consumer purchased sanitizer they thought was drinking water.

Even a small amount of hand sanitizer can be fatal to young children, who can be drawn in by appetizing smells and colorful cartoon designs.

Even for adults, hand sanitizer can be toxic when ingested.

Since March, there have been an increased number of calls to poison control centers citing hand sanitizer ingestion.

Earlier this summer, 11 people were hospitalized in Arizona and New Mexico, and four died, after drinking hand sanitizer, according to the CDC.

Since March, there have been an increased number of calls to poison control centers citing hand sanitizer ingestion. According to the CDC 11 people were hospitalized in Arizona and New Mexico, and four died, after drinking hand sanitizer

Since March, there have been an increased number of calls to poison control centers citing hand sanitizer ingestion. According to the CDC 11 people were hospitalized in Arizona and New Mexico, and four died, after drinking hand sanitizer

Typically, alcohol-based hand sanitizers contain ethanol or isopropanol to kill microbes, bacteria, and other microorganisms.

But some less scrupulous brands contain methanol, a kind of alcohol that can be poisonous if absorbed through the skin or taken internally.

Health officials say exposure to methanol-based hand sanitizer can cause nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, blindness, seizures, comas, damage to the central nervous system and even death.

‘Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and should not be used due to its toxic effects,’ the FDA said in a June letter warning Americans not to use nine hand sanitizers containing the ingredient.

The FDA has urged against using sanitizer containing methanol, a kind of alcohol that can be poisonous if absorbed through the skin or taken internally. Exposure to methanol-based sanitizer can cause nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, seizures, coma and even death

The FDA has urged against using sanitizer containing methanol, a kind of alcohol that can be poisonous if absorbed through the skin or taken internally. Exposure to methanol-based sanitizer can cause nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, seizures, coma and even death

This month, the FDA also issued a warning against using sanitizer containing 1-propanol, which is two to four times more potent than ethanol.  

Hahn said manufacturers also need to be vigilant about packaging to help prevent consumers from accidentally ingesting sanitizers.

‘The FDA continues to monitor these products and we’ll take appropriate actions as needed to protect the health of Americans.’

The agency is working with manufacturers to recall potentially dangerous products and has a list of nearly 150 hand sanitizer products it urges consumers avoid.

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