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More hand sanitizer drinking cases reported in dangerous trend

April 25, 2012 | 10:36 am

 

The California Poison Control System has received 60 reports of teenagers drinking hand sanitizer since 2010, showing the dangerous trend is not unique to Los Angeles.

Hand sanitizer, which has 62% ethyl alcohol, produces a potent drink that can cause alcohol poisoning. Some of the cases involve teenagers who used salt to separate out the alcohol.

There were also 147 cases involving children ages 6 to 12 and 2,180 cases ages 0 to 5, believed to have accidentally ingested the gel, according to poison control service, part of the UC San Francisco's Department of Clinical Pharmacy.

The vast majority of all the cases statewide were minor and treated at home, but about 50 of the youths went to a hospital or were referred to a hospital for treatment.

In Los Angeles County since March, there have been 16 cases of teenagers requiring medical attention, according to the California Poison Control System. 

Officials began separately tracking hand sanitizer cases in 2010. 

"It's quite a concern," said Stuart Heard, executive director. "It's like drinking any other type of alcohol."

Doctors are urging parents to keep hand sanitizer out of reach of children and monitor it around teens. They also suggest parents who want to buy the hand sanitizer purchase the foam version rather than the gel version.

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-- Anna Gorman

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