Since the beginning of the pandemic, the CDC has recommended the importance of cleaning and disinfecting surfaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Concern has been expressed over potential health and environmental risks from continued use of disinfectants, including EPA approved substances. This has led to renewed warnings that everyone who uses disinfectants closely follow label warnings.
“A recent report described a sharp increase in calls to poison centers related to exposures to cleaners and disinfectants since the onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic,” the CDC wrote in its June 5 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
To provide insight into the reported increase in poison center calls and to inform prevention strategies, CDC conducted an opt-in Internet panel survey of 502 U.S. adults. The survey’s purpose was to characterize knowledge and practices regarding household cleaning and disinfection during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey found there were knowledge gaps were identified in several areas, including safe preparation of cleaning and disinfectant solutions, use of recommended personal protective equipment when using cleaners and disinfectants, and safe storage of hand sanitizers, cleaners, and disinfectants.
Thirty-nine percent of respondents reported engaging in non-recommended high-risk practices with the intent of preventing transmission of COVID-19, such as washing food products with bleach, applying household cleaning or disinfectant products to bare skin, and intentionally inhaling or ingesting these products. Respondents who engaged in high-risk practices more frequently reported an adverse health effect that they believed was a result of using cleaners or disinfectants than did those who did not report engaging in these practices.
You can read more about the study here: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6923e2.htm.
While this study specifically examined the use of disinfectants in household settings, the advice holds true for the use of disinfectants in other settings, such as your business. This is a good reminder to carefully follow label instruction for all cleaning and sanitizing and related products.
More information about cleaning and disinfecting workplaces can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/businesses-employers.html. Learn more about disinfecting your home here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/disinfecting-your-home.html.