UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Toxicology

Title: Alcohol content of hand sanitizer

Keywords: hand sanitizer, ethanol, alcohol (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/10/2009 by Bryan Hayes, PharmD (Updated: 12/7/2022)
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     Most hand sanitizers contain ethanol, while some contain isopropyl alcohol. The concentration of alcohol in these products varies from 45% to 95%, with the most commonly used products containing 62%.  How much would a 15 kg child have to ingest to obtain a blood alcohol concentration of 100 mg/dL (or 0.1%)?

     Assuming a volume of distribution of 0.6 L/kg and 100% bioavailability, only 15-20 mL is required to produce this toxic level.  That is equivalent to 3-4 teaspoons or approximately 8-10 “squirts” of hand sanitizer!