In a shocking revelation, poison control centres in the United States have reported that there has been 400 percent rise in the number of children under the age of 12, swallowing highly alcoholic hand sanitizer.
According to Gaylord Lopez, director of the Georgia Poison Center, hand sanitizer ingestion went up from 3,266 in 2010 to 16,117 in 2014. “Kids are getting into these products more frequently, and unfortunately, there’s a percentage of them going to the emergency room,” Lopez told CNN as reported by Russia Today .
Several videos have been uploaded by teenagers on YouTube which show teenagers drinking sanitizers with alcohol-containing mouthwash. Such videos are garnering a lot of attention among children, Lopez warned. “A kid is not thinking this is bad for them. A lot of the more attractive (hand sanitizers) are the ones that are scented. There are strawberry, grape, orange-flavored hand sanitizers that are very appealing to kids,” he added, Russia Today reported.
Hand sanitizers which contain anywhere between 45 and 95 per cent alcohol can prove fatal for kids as it can cause alcohol poisoning. Stephen Thornton, medical director of the poison control center at University of Kansas Hospital, said that consuming hand sanitizers is a quick way for kids to have a lot of alcohol. There are many cases of kids as young as six years of age being tested positive for having alarmingly high blood alcohol level.
There have also been reports of sanitizers being linked to death. Two Ontario women died after swallowing hand sanitizer that contained a toxic undeclared ingredient in 2013. The product contained methanol, a deadly agent, rather than ethyl alcohol, which was listed as the active ingredient.
Lopez has firmly recommended that parents and teachers should use non-alcoholic products and sanitizing wipes should be kept out of a child’s reach.