The Dangers of Methyl Salicylate





A budding teenage athlete has died after ‘overdosing’ on a common topical muscle cream.

The medical examiner announced on Thursday that the 17-year-old track star, Arielle Newman of Castleton Corners, N.Y., died from a toxic dose of sports cream, the Staten Island Advance reported.

Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s officer told the Advance that the Notre Dame Academy track star’s blood contained lethal amounts of methyl salicylate, the active ingredient found in muscle rubs such as BenGay and Icy Hot.

Borakove said the petite girl used the topical medication excessively, allowing the poisons to accumulate in her body over an undetermined amount of time.

Newman was found dead in her home on April 3. The initial autopsy was inconclusive, which led to speculation her death was linked to a party she had attended the night before.

“I am glad this shows (Arielle) didn’t die of her own doing. But this is a tragedy that could have been avoided,” her mother, Alice Newman told the Advance.

Methyl salicylate, also known as oil of wintergreen, can be toxic if overused, but deaths from topical application are extremely rare.

Borakove said this was the first case she had come across in 20 years at the medical examiner’s office.

Poisoning from swallowing the substance is more likely, but death from ingesting it is still very uncommon. Just one teaspoon of pure methyl salicylate can be fatal if swallowed by a child.

“Even though this is an extremely rare case, it points to the danger of over-the-counter products, whatever the case may be,” said Dr. Manny Alvarez, the managing health editor of “Everyone needs to pay attention to over the counter products, even the products that seem safe can be deadly if used improperly.”


I feel like I need to add something very important here for our Shaklee people. Menthol, the active ingredient in Shaklee’s Joint and Muscle Pain Cream may also pose concerns if misused. The most important lesson here is to follow labeled directions. Shaklee’s Joint and Muscle Pain Cream comes with the Warnings: Do not use with a heating pad, do not apply to damaged skin, and do not bandage affected area tightly after use.
Any of these could lead to excessive exposure which could cause health concerns.

The recent case in the news happened because of apparent overdose because of liberal application probably repeatedly, patches with the product which caused prolonged exposure, and the body weight of the victim.

To Your Good Health and Wellness with Shaklee,
Bob Evelsizer, DVM

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