Maryland posted a warning not to ingest or inject disinfectant as a counter to the coronavirus, citing more than 100 people who called its hotline asking about it after Trump's briefing yesterday.
Makers of Clorox and Lysol Warn Against Ingesting Bleach and Disinfectants
By Christine Hauser and Alan Yuhas
April 24, 2020
Updated 3:13 p.m. ET
Health officials, the makers of cleaning products, doctors and federal lawmakers repeated dire warnings on Friday about the dangers of ingesting disinfectants, responding to remarks by President Trump the night before about the possible medical effects of sunlight, ultraviolet light and household disinfectants on the coronavirus.
The warnings were uniform: The cleaning products are extremely dangerous to ingest — potentially deadly — and no one should do so.
Reckitt Benckiser, the British company that makes Lysol and Dettol, said on Friday it was warning customers against using disinfectants as treatment because it had been asked about their “internal administration” after “recent speculation and social media activity.”
“As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route),” it said in a statement.
The Clorox Company said on Friday that disinfecting surfaces with bleach was one way to help slow the spread of Covid-19, citing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But it added: “Bleach and other disinfectants are not suitable for consumption or injection under any circumstances.”
Accidents with household cleaning products appear to have sharply increased in recent weeks, according to doctors who monitor activity at poison call centers. On Monday, the C.D.C. reported an alarming trend of growing calls to poison control centers, and a significant increase in accidental exposures to household cleaners and disinfectants.
Ingesting bleach or disinfectant chemicals is very dangerous, said Dr. Diane P. Calello, the medical director of the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System. “When people injected bleach or highly concentrated rubbing alcohol it causes massive organ damage and the blood cells in the body to basically burst,” she said. “It can definitely be a fatal event.”
But although companies and doctors have warned about such chemicals for years, officials around the country on Friday were fielding calls and questions about disinfectants and Covid-19. By the afternoon, Maryland’s hotline had received more than 100 calls on the subject, Mike Ricci, the spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan, said on Twitter.
The calls prompted a response from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency: “Under no circumstances should any disinfectant product be administered into the body through injection, ingestion or any other route.”
Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s health secretary, was even more emphatic, saying that, as a pediatrician, she had seen children with “very, very severe burns of their esophagus, requiring intensive care and operations,” after ingesting cleaning materials.