Methanol is toxic and can even poison people through their skin, the CDC has warned.
As an ingredient, methanol is deemed “unacceptable” by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Four of the 15 hospitalized people died, three left the hospital with new visual impairments and six had seizures upon admission – including three of those who died.
One of the patients was a 44-year-old man who went to the doctor because he suddenly became partially blind.
According to the report, he had drunk “an unknown amount of alcohol-based hand sanitizer in the few days preceding the medical visit.”
High levels of methanol were found in his blood and in the hospital he had seizures.
The patient also had to undergo dialysis to clean his blood.
The man eventually recovered from methanol poisoning after six days of hospitalization, but suffered long-term consequences as he ended up with “near total vision loss”.
Other patients have sought care because of gastrointestinal or vision problems and some unconsciousness, NBC News reports.
One of the people hospitalized has reportedly decided to be checked because of media reports on hand sanitizers contaminated with methanol.
The report warned: “Severe methanol poisoning resulting in permanent disability or death can occur after ingestion of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing methanol. ”
Following the incidents, the FDA warned of more than 100 hand sanitizer products.
A spokesperson for the CDC told CNN: “We wanted to specifically look at adverse events related to methanol because it is known to be toxic and potentially fatal when ingested. ”
All of the cases detailed in the report had blood tests to confirm the presence of methanol.
In addition, all people reported a previous ingestion of hand sanitizer.
The CDC recommends hand sanitizers that contain ethanol or isopropanol, which are also alcohols, but not methanol.
They have repeatedly emphasized that hand sanitizer should never be ingested.
When President Trump suggested during a White House briefing in April that injecting disinfectant could be a possible treatment for the coronavirus, the CDC posted on Twitter: “Household cleaners and disinfectants can cause health problems when not used correctly.
“Follow the directions on the product label to ensure safe and effective use. “