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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 February 2005, 18:17 GMT
US driver charged over mouthwash
The bristles of a toothbrush
Mouthwash - like toothpaste - is not meant to be swallowed
An American woman has pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol after downing three glasses of a strong mouthwash.

The 50-year-old, from Michigan, admitted she was drunk after swallowing substantial quantities of the fluid.

Police found that she had three times the legal level of alcohol in her blood at the time of an accident.

A bottle of Listerine was found in her car after she hit the vehicle in front of her at a red traffic light.

Mouthwashes cleanse the mouth by rinsing and are not intended to be swallowed.

Some brands can contain as much as 27% alcohol, more than twice the content found in wine.

Alcohol is used to provide a solution for active ingredients such as essential oils.

In a statement, the company that makes Listerine said: "Pfizer Consumer Healthcare [...] would like to reassure users of Listerine that, if used according to recommendations, Listerine will have no effect on ability to drive.

"The directions for Listerine instruct the user to rinse with 20ml twice a day and not to swallow the mouthwash."

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