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Myth Watch

June 03, 2007|David Colker

The warning: Children are getting drunk on hand sanitizer!

The reality: It's true, according to Snopes.com.

The message: The e-mail warning that's going around on this topic has all the earmarks of a classic online myth. There's the breathless prose, the seemingly outlandish situation and one of the hallmarks of inbox fabrications -- children in danger.

But the reliable Snopes.com, which collects and investigates online myths, has substantiated two cases of dangerous intoxication in small children. Some of the hand sanitizers are more than 60% alcohol, and it takes only a few squirts into the mouth of a curious child to get him or her to the point of being perilously drunk. Both children (a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old) ended up in emergency rooms but were fine after receiving care.

More information: The circulating e-mail and investigation notes are posted at www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/sanitizer.asp.

-- David Colker

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