Accidental poisonings from bleach and other disinfectants spiked amid coronavirus

Accidental poisonings as a result of Americans mistakenly ingesting bleach or other household cleaners spiked over March and April, nearly doubling as President Trump suggested the chemicals could be useful in fighting coronavirus infections.

Data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) first reported by Time on Tuesday found that the number of calls to poison control hotlines regarding accidental poisoning from household cleaners and disinfectants surged over the past two months, nearly doubling the number of cases reported in March 2019 and more than doubling April 2019’s total case numbers.

Some 3,401 Americans reported cases of accidental poisonings from household disinfectants in March, and 3,609 did so in April. Usually, the number sits between 1,600-1,700. The first week of May looks to be little better, with 966 cases reported between May 1 and May 10, compared to just 573 cases reported in the same time frame last year.

The spike in accidental poisonings comes amid a controversy over remarks made in late April by Trump, who appeared to suggest that Americans could inject disinfectant chemicals as a means of treating COVID-19.

“I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute,” Trump said to health officials at a press briefing in April. “One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?”

Some companies including popular disinfectant brand Lysol responded, urging Americans not to do so: “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).”

“I think we need to speak very clearly that there’s no circumstance under which you should take a disinfectant or inject a disinfectant for the treatment of anything, and certainly not for the treatment of coronavirus,” agreed Scott Gottlieb, a former head of the Food and Drug Administration.

“There’s absolutely no circumstance under which that’s appropriate and it can cause death and very adverse outcomes,” he said.

Trump later tried to say he was being sarcastic, an explanation that drew skepticism from those who watched the briefing.

Tags Coronavirus Disinfectant Donald Trump poison Poison control center Toxicology

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