Seven people have either died or been critically injured after consuming hand sanitizer containing methanol from Mexican manufacturer Eskbiochem.

According to the New Mexico Department of Health, seven people consumed hand sanitizer that contained methanol. Three of them died, three others are in critical condition, and one is permanently blind.

Although details on the individuals who drank the hand sanitizer have not been revealed to news sources, the New Mexico Poison Center confirmed that the ingestion had to do with alcohol. It's been suggested that victims were seeking a way to get drunk.

Methanol, an extremely toxic chemical, has apparently been present in hand sanitizer products created and distributed by the Mexican company, Eskbiochem SA. Federal officials discovered its presence, although not if the victims in New Mexico used this same brand of hand sanitizer.

Consuming or absorbing (through the skin) a high content of methanol can lead to a variety of side effects, including: 

  • headaches
  • blurred vision
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • permanent blindness
  • coma
  • seizures
  • permanent damage to the nervous system
  • death

The Food and Drug Administration has thus warned people not to use hand sanitizer products from Eskbiochem SA.

"If you think you may have used or consumed hand sanitizer containing methanol, please seek medical care," New Mexican Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel said.

An antidote to methanol poisoning is available, but the earlier someone gets treated for methanol poisoning the better the chance of recovery."