The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said about a third of Americans who took its online survey about the use of disinfectants used bleach improperly, including to wash food, believing that would reduce the risk of contracting the CCP virus.
“Thirty-nine percent of respondents reported engaging in non-recommended high-risk practices with the intent of preventing SARS-CoV-2 transmission, such as washing food products with bleach, applying household cleaning or disinfectant products to bare skin and intentionally inhaling or ingesting these products,” the CDC said in a report on June 5.
The survey was taken by 502 adults between the ages of 18-86 and about 56 percent of them were female.
The study said that respondents also participated in high-risk practices that were not recommended by the agency, including using household cleaning and disinfectant products on the skin and inhaling or ingesting cleaners and disinfectants.
The CDC said it is important to continuously inform the public because such high-risk activities can have harmful health effects, such as severe tissue damage and corrosive injury.
The agency added that the respondents believed they knew how to use the high-risk materials in their homes.
“Public messaging should continue to emphasize evidence-based, safe cleaning and disinfection practices to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission in households, including hand hygiene and cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces,” the CDC noted. “Thus, prevention messages should highlight identified gaps in knowledge about safe and effective practices.”
The agency asks the public to always read instructions on disinfectant products, wear protective gloves when using the products, and not mix different products together.
“Mixing of bleach solutions with vinegar or ammonia, as well as the application of heat, can generate chlorine and chloramine gases that might result in severe lung tissue damage when inhaled,” said the agency.
The CDC said the exposure of children to disinfectants or ingestion of sanitizers can cause gastrointestinal effects, and in severe cases, alcohol toxicity.
“The risk of ingestion and consequent toxicity from improperly stored hand sanitizers, cleaners, and disinfectants can also extend to pets.”