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Diatribe: Drinking Hand Sanitizer Leads To Alcohol Poisoning.


I use a lot of hand sanitizer and I enjoy an occasional cocktail but this is ridiculous.  Six California teenagers have recently been hospitalized in separate incidents where each was diagnosed with alcohol poisoning resulting from their drinking hand sanitizer!  And doctors are warning parents that this is a dangerous and fast-growing trend.

Apparently, some of the teens used salt to somehow separate the alcohol from the sanitizer by using instructions that they found online.  While a shot of hard liquor like whiskey or vodka is typically 80 proof, “drinks” made from hand sanitizer’s ethyl alcohol can be as high as 120 proof.  When mixed with the alcohol from mouthwash, it’s no wonder that alcohol poisoning is a danger.

Officials worry that, while there has only been a small amount of cases reported, the practice could soon become a nationwide problem because hand sanitizers are cheap and easily available and clever teenagers can easily research methods to extract the alcohol.

Doctors also suggest that parents purchase only foam hand sanitizers because, in comparison to their gel-based counterparts, it’s harder to extract alcohol from them.  I think it might be wise to not purchase any at all.  But that won’t stop a determined teen who can buy hand sanitizer at any discount store in town.

I think a portion of the blame lies with the “news industry” that takes a story like this and turns it into a HOW TO GUIDE for interested teens.  Most teens might never have thought of this on their own but, now that they’ve seen it on the news and people are talking about it, they know that it works and how to learn more about going about doing it.  I hate to see stories in the news that plant the seeds of bad ideas in the minds of impressionable viewers or readers.  Why tell the world that you can make a bomb out of fertilizer?

We’ve all heard stories about teenagers sneaking into their parents’ liquor cabinets to experiment while their folks are out of town (many parents actually keep their spirits under lock and key just for this reason) but we don’t need to hear stories about how they learned to commit crimes by watching the news.

Copyright © 2012

From → Diatribes

  1. That is certifiably gross. Well, and Stupid. Seriously stupid.


  2. mary i permalink

    Yes I agree, stupid!


  3. devin permalink

    You know, I just saw this story on the news and was gonna try it. I woulda never tried it if I hadn’t heard it there. Lol


  4. Anonymous permalink

    I agree that some things shouldn’t be broadcast in detail. Also, seeing the kids and their home in this video seems to bee an example well off, entitled teens w with nothing productive to do?


  5. Elyse said it all.


  6. The news media seems to have difficulty with reporting stories that are usefully informative, without being sensationally destructive. And then there’s the internet; filled with information that can be a blessing as well as a curse. I was kinda on the wild side when I was in my teens, but my friends and I never pulled sh*t like this – because we didn’t know about it…


  7. This is the same argument that conservatives use against sex education and to sponsor the “Don’t Say Gay” bills. Teenagers learn things, and often the wrong things in the wrong way, much faster than adults and parents. While I agree that the news often sensationalizes its stories, they do need to include the how with the why. Besides, how many preteens or teens actually watch the news or read a newspaper?


  8. This is so sad. I hope the stores will put hand sanitizing soap under lock and key like they do spray paint. Otherwise there’s sure to be even more disasters.


  9. This wouldn’t have happened when I was growing up because back then you ate your veggies right out of the garden with a little dirt on them & you LIVED! I think there is just way too much scariness around germs & children. We are raising a generation of children with no natural immunities!

    I think the internet has a lot to answer for when it comes to publishing information on bomb making, alcohol separating, etc. There should be some kind of hold-back so kids can’t kill themselves with stuff they’ve seen on the internet. Sort of like Mythbusters where they hold off telling you about one of the ingredients in their experiments so you can’t duplicate it & hurt yourself! IMHO


  10. But it sure does beat glue-sniffing, doesn’t it? Honestly, some things are stupid, and the kids who get hurt doing them are well… stupid. I started drinking before the legal age, but it was beer that a friend’s brother bought, or something like that. It’s a lot easier to get it that way than to have to use a chemistry set.


  11. Oh god why? This is just absolutely retarded…


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