There are several internet-based emails circulating regarding serious alcohol toxicity resulting from exposure to hand sanitizer products predominantly containing ethanol. While it is true that the concentration of ethanol in these gels is equivalent to various strong alcoholic beverages, it is not possible to become drunk from casual exposure. For example, licking hands after use is not a problem.
- Community-based studies have shown beneficial effects of hand sanitizers. Hand sanitizers were effective in reducing illnesses in households, elementary schools, and in university dormitories.
- Do not expect toxicity from a taste or a lick of hand sanitizer gel.
- Sanitizer gel should have a Mr. Yuk sticker on it and be kept out of the reach of children along with other ethanol containing products such as perfumes and mouthwashes.
- Adults should supervise the use of hand sanitizer gel.
- Products containing ethanol / alcohol, such as sanitizer gel and others, can be abused.
- Never transfer hand sanitizer to an unmarked container.
- Call the Washington Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for any hand sanitizer ingestion greater than the amount used on your hands or if there is concern, or if you have any questions.