Caution of Toxic Chemicals
DCARA has important information to share with the community about Caution of Toxic Chemicals. Watch our video.
[Video description: Byung Lim is wearing a DCARA t-shirt and a pair of black round glasses.]
Caution! Cleaning and Disinfectant Chemicals can be Toxic!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting that calls to the U.S. poison centers have increased by 20% as a result of people are getting sick from cleaner and disinfectant exposures during the COVID-19 epidemic.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the CDC and others have recommended using the proper cleaning chemicals for the purpose of disinfecting the objects that we often touch and use.
Many cleaning products that people purchased may include alcohol or bleach. These can be toxic and need to be used with caution and kept away from children and pets.
In the 3 month period between January through March 2020, calls to poison centers skyrocketed related to poisoning:
• Affecting all age groups, a large number were under 5 years of age
• For cleaning, bleaches were the biggest reason
• For disinfectants, non-alcohol disinfectants and hand sanitizers were the reason
• Most were through inhalation
Example of the kinds of cases being reported:
A woman, after hearing on the news that people should clean all her groceries before eating them, proceed to soak her produce in a mixture of bleach, vinegar, and hot water. As a result, she had trouble breathing and started coughing and wheezing, and smelled what was described as “chlorine,” so she called 911. She was brought to the emergency room via an ambulance. She developed mild hypoxemia – low levels of oxygen. A few hours later, she was released from the hospital.
Another case, a preschool-aged child drank ethanol-based hand sanitizer, became dizzy, fell and hit her head. She vomited on the way to the ER, and her blood alcohol level was 273, more than 3 times the legal driving limit in most states. After 48 hours in intensive care she was discharged.
Similar case, officials say there was a call about a teenager who drank hand sanitizer that had a taste similar to regular alcohol.
How can you prevent COVID-19 spread and clean safely?
• Follow label directions
• Don’t mix chemicals
• Wear protective gear (i.e. gloves, goggles and apron)
• Use chemicals in a well-ventilated area (i.e. open windows)
• Store chemicals out of reach from young children
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