In July of 2010, I read an article about how tasty Purell hand sanitizer is that read something like this:
Purell. The most popular liquid hand sanitizer in the US is not only good for getting nasty germs off your mitts, but did you know that it’s also surprisingly tasty? It’s true! The clear alcohol-based gel has a surprisingly sweet and lemony taste, reminiscent of limoncello or a lemon drop.
Now I don’t advocate actually drinking Purell, but it’s not going to hurt you to put a tiny drop on your finger to taste it. Mmm, sweet lemony liquory goodness. It wasn’t I that discovered this… that thanks goes to a co-worker who out of the blue said “Hey, have you ever eaten Purell?”
After some experimentation, I determined that a dab of Purell does tastes kind of like a lemon drop, sort of sweet and tart. And today, there are stories about teenagers drinking the shit to get drunk. Well… stop making it so damn yummy.
Six teenagers have shown up in two San Fernando Valley emergency rooms in the last few months with alcohol poisoning after drinking hand sanitizer, worrying public health officials who say the cases could signal a dangerous trend.
Some of the teenagers used salt to separate the alcohol from the sanitizer, making a potent drink that is similar to a shot of hard liquor.
“All it takes is just a few swallows and you have a drunk teenager,” said Cyrus Rangan, director of the toxicology bureau for the county public health department and a medical toxicology consultant for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “There is no question that it is dangerous.”
Although there have been only a handful of cases, Rangan said the practice could easily become a larger problem. Bottles of hand sanitizer are inexpensive and accessible, and teenagers can find distillation instructions on the Internet.
“It is kind of scary that they go to that extent to get a shot of essentially hard liquor,” Rangan said.
In addition to the teenagers who intentionally drank the sanitizer, younger children also have accidentally ingested it in the past.
The liquid hand sanitizer is 62% ethyl alcohol and makes a 120-proof liquid. A few drinks can cause a person’s speech to slur and stomach to burn, and make people so drunk that they have to be monitored in the emergency room.
Doctors said this is the latest over-the-counter product that teenagers have adapted for a quick high. Teenagers have done the same with mouthwash, cough syrup and even vanilla extract.
So… BREAKING NEWS: Teenagers are stupid and in a pinch, will try all kinds of household chemicals to get fucked up.
Snopes has an article about keeping Purell away from children due to intoxication and poisoning, but just a tiny dab won’t hurt you. You’re a grown up. DO IT. Also, Snopes mentions that most hand sanitizers have bad-tasting ingredients. Obviously, they’ve never actually had Purell, which is quite tasty.