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Thousands of Kids Are Getting Sick From Drinking Hand Sanitizer

Mar 06, 2017
TIME Health
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A new study found that thousands of American children have gotten sick from drinking alcohol-based hand sanitizer, both intentionally and unintentionally.

The CDC analyzed dat from 2011 to 2014 using information from National Poison Data System and found that a total of 70,669 children under 12 had been exposed to the product, including ingesting sanitizer or getting it in their eyes. Most of those exposures were kids drinking the gel — and more kids above age six were exposed to the alcoholic gels than the nonalcoholic gels, suggesting they drank it for the alcoholic effects.

More than 8,000 of those cases resulted in adverse health effects, ranging from abdominal pain and vomiting to five instances of comas. The rate of exposure in children has been increasing since 2005, according to the report.

Alcoholic hand sanitizers often contain between 60% and 95% ethanol or isopropyl alcohol by volume, the report states, and scents that manufacturers add to the liquids could make them more enticing to young children.

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