June 8, 2020
About one in three adults in the U.S. have used chemicals or disinfectants unsafely while trying to protect themselves against COVID-19, according to a new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report issued Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC report follows up on previous reports that calls to poison centers, including the Illinois Poison Center, regarding exposures to cleaners and disinfectants have increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new report says an Internet survey of 502 adults identified gaps in knowledge about safe preparation, use, and storage of cleaners and disinfectants. Approximately one-third of survey respondents engaged in non-recommended high-risk practices with the intent of preventing COVID-19 transmission, including using bleach on food products, applying household cleaning and disinfectant products to skin, and inhaling or ingesting cleaners and disinfectants.
The CDC says public messaging should continue to emphasize evidence-based, safe cleaning and disinfection practices to prevent COVID-19 transmission in households, including hand hygiene and cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces.