Carroll High School students have been warned about the toxic nature of hand sanitizer after a student became ill after accidentally drinking it.
The warning came after a 14-year-old girl became ill after a boy put three pumps worth of hand sanitizer into her water bottle when she wasn’t looking, according to an Allen County Sheriff’s Department incident report obtained by The Journal Gazette.
About 10 a.m. Thursday, school resource officer A. Rogers of the sheriff’s department was contacted by one of Carroll’s assistant principals who told him hand sanitizer was poured into the girl’s water bottle, also called a hydroflask, the report said.
Rogers pulled the girl out of class for an interview.
She told Rogers another student had put hand sanitizer into her water bottle along with candy wrappers and paper. She said she’d left the classroom to complete work in the hallway. When she returned, her water tasted funny, but she thought there might be soap inside the bottle from washing it.
She told Rogers she continued to drink the water and didn’t think much of it, until she asked a 14-year-old boy if he had put anything into her water bottle, which he admitted he’d done. She started to get a headache, the report said.
She went to the school office and was given bottled water. The victim also called her mother, who spoke to the officer, explaining her daughter and the boy in question “horse around,” but there was never an incident like this. The two students had known each other for about a year, the mother said.
When the mother got to Carroll, she told Rogers she wasn’t sure if she was going to take her daughter to the hospital. But she took her home to monitor her, the report said.
Rogers told her he would be speaking to the boy and his parents. The student allegedly admitted he’d put three pumps of hand sanitizer into her water bottle when some other girls “were messing around with him (throwing papers at him in class) and this was just him getting back at them.”
The boy appeared “very remorseful and apologetic,” and “had not thought of the possible outcomes when he did it,” the report said.
According to Poison.org, hand sanitizer can be toxic when ingested: “Such products usually contain ethanol (ethyl alcohol), isopropanol (isopropyl alcohol) or benzalkonium chloride (a detergent). Drinking alcohol-based hand sanitizers can cause intoxication and coma. Ethanol-based products in particular can cause low blood sugar which can lead to seizure in children. Until recently, the risk of hand sanitizer exposure was not considered more dangerous than exposure to other sources of alcohol in a child’s environment.”
A further warning was issued with methanol: “Methanol has a much narrower range of safety compared to ethanol and isopropanol. Too much methanol can cause permanent blindness and death…