A watchdog group on toxic chemicals warned against the reckless use and storage of disinfectants as households clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces as a preventive measure against the feared novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In a press statement, the EcoWaste Coalition reminded adults, specifically parents and domestic workers, of their responsibility to prevent chemical poisoning by keeping disinfectants such as bleach and rubbing alcohol safely stored and out of children’s reach and by not decanting them into other containers.
“The use of disinfectants to deactivate coronaviruses on indoor surfaces is recommended by health experts as a measure to keep COVID-19 out of our homes. But it must be done with utmost care to avoid unintentional poisoning of young children,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
To prevent poisoning incidents involving substances for cleaning and disinfecting, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the public to take the following safety tips to heart:
On Safe Usage:
- Carefully read the product label and follow the usage instructions, including the recommended dose.
- Do not mix chlorine-based products such as bleach with acids, ammonia and other cleaning products.
- Always use alcohol and bleach in a well-ventilated area.
On Safe Storage:
- Keep alcohol and bleach products in their original containers.
- Do not transfer the liquid from its original container to another container such as beverage or water bottles.
- Keep disinfectants out of reach of children as well as pets.
The group issued the reminder after monitoring an appeal from the Rizal Medical Center Poison Control Unit on proper storage of bleach disinfectant via a Facebook post.
“Diluted bleach solution is a good disinfectant, but please do not store it in drinking water bottles. We now have a case of accidental ingestion of diluted bleach solution because it was mistaken for water,” the March 14 Fb post reads.
“We do not want other cases like this to clog our hospitals, at this moment when we are busy fighting the threat of #COVID19,” the post continues.
Based on 2018 data by the UP-PGH National Poison Management and Control Center (NPMCC), sodium hypochlorite (an active ingredient of bleaching products) ranked second in inpatient and telephone referrals for pediatric cases, while ethyl or isopropyl alcohol poisoning ranked sixth in inpatient referrals and fourth in telephone referrals.
If a person ingests or inhales alcohol or bleach disinfectant and shows symptoms of poisoning, the EcoWaste Coalition advised the public to seek medical attention right away or call the NPMCC hotlines for free advice at +632-85241078 or 85548400 local 2311.
1. UP-PGH NPMCC poisoning data：
2. RMC-PCU‘s appeal re safe storage of diluted bleach solution：
https://www.facebook.com/RizalMedPoisonControlUnit/ or see