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Hand Sanitizers Pose Toxic Risks

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Wednesday, 29 Mar 2017 11:01 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Today, when we use the term "from hand to mouth," we usually mean living with the bare essentials, or from paycheck to paycheck. When a paleoanthropologist uses the term, chances are it refers to the evolution of human communication from hand signals to vocalizations. But if a parent says it, these days it may be describing how a child became poisoned by hand sanitizer. And this is no joke.

From 2011 through 2014, the U.S. National Poison Data System received more than 70,000 reports related to hand sanitizer overexposure among children 12 and younger. According the New England Journal of Medicine, symptoms of overexposure ranged from eye irritation and conjunctivitis, to oral irritation, cough, abdominal pain and vomiting.

The last few symptoms indicate that kids are swallowing it, either accidentally or intentionally. And that's happening most often to kids ages 6 to 12 - sometimes as a dare from friends, sometimes to get drunk. It's dangerous! Hand sanitizers contain 45 percent to 95 percent alcohol. Swallowing even two or three squirts can give a child alcohol poisoning.

Clearly, parents need to be vigilant: Talk to your older kids about how poisonous these seemingly benign hand cleaners can be if misused. Keep them out of reach of the youngest children. And post the poison helpline number (800-222-1222) in plain sight. But the best solution - so you'll never have to deal with this problem - is to keep hand sanitizers out of your home. Use soap and water (very effective) to fight dirt and germs instead.

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The U.S. National Poison Data System received more than 70,000 reports related to hand sanitizer overexposure among children 12 and younger.
hand, sanitizer, risk, toxic
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2017-01-29
Wednesday, 29 Mar 2017 11:01 AM
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