One squirt of hand sanitizer kills germs. A few gulps of the liquid bacteria expunger is intoxicating. At least six California teens have been recently treated for alcohol poisoning, and doctors are concerned that this may be the beginning of a new teenage craze.
“Over the years, [teens] have ingested all sorts of things,” Helen Arbogast, injury prevention coordinator in the trauma program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles told The Los Angeles Times. “Cough syrup had reached a very sexy point where young people were using it…. We want to be sure this doesn’t take on the same trend.”
Liquid hand sanitizer is virtually everywhere — homes, schools, public restrooms, etc. — and contains 62% ethyl alcohol. With some common household ingredients, like salt, the alcohol can be removed from the gooey substance, morphing it into a 120-proof tonic.
“All it takes is just a few swallows and you have a drunk teenager,” Cyrus Rangan, the director of the toxicology bureau for the county public health department and a medical toxicology consultant for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, told the Times. “There is no question that it is dangerous.”