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Vincent Iannelli, M.D.

The Latest Hand Sanitizer Dangers

By May 12, 2012

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We have all heard about the dangers of hand sanitizer over the years.

Dr. Gupta first warned us about the dangers of hand sanitizer back in 2007, when he highlighted the fact that hand sanitizer contains ethyl alcohol, the "same stuff in wine, beer and Jack Daniels." He went on to talk about all of the calls to poison control, likely from parents of kids who accidentally ingested hand sanitizer.

Fortunately, as the Texas Poison Center Network states, "while hand sanitizers can be dangerous if swallowed, actual symptoms from their misuse are extremely rare." The reason is that while Dr. Gupta is correct that "a little 2-ounce bottle = 4 shots of vodka," most children don't get more than a very small taste of the stuff because it tastes so bad.

We got another warning about hand sanitizer a few weeks ago - teens are drinking hand sanitizer to get high. At least a handful of teens in California drank hand sanitizer a few months ago and there are some youtube videos of kids tasting hand sanitizer.

And of course there have always been the warnings from people who are worried about hand sanitizer ingredients, like triclosan. Remember that while the FDA is reviewing things, they do state that they do "not have evidence that triclosan added to antibacterial soaps and body washes provides extra health benefits over soap and water."

There may be a new hand sanitizer danger to warn you about now though.

Teens are using hand sanitizer to set their schools on fire.

Woodburn High School in Woodburn, Oregon was set on fire by kids "messing around with hand sanitizer" in class. At least one of the students decided to light the hand sanitizer on fire, a bad idea since it is mostly alcohol, and then "tried to put it out with a paper towel."

Three 15-year-old students now face arson charges in connection with the 4-alarm fire that destroyed part of their school.

Does this mean that we have another reason to take hand sanitizer out of our schools and away from our kids?

Of course not. But it likely is a good reminder to talk to your kids about National Arson Awareness Week.

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Hand Sanitizer High - Hype or Hazard

March 17, 2014 at 11:03 pm
(1) RB says:

I can tell you that hand sanitizer is poison! I accidently touched my lips after I put hand sanitizer on my hands, and the toxic chemicals flowed through my mouth and throat so fast it was a shock. I had a bitter taste for days. This stuff is no good. I suggest washing hands thoroughly with soap and water. Forget the awful poisonous hand sanitizer.

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