By Chito Chave
Quezon City-based environmental group EcoWaste Coalition cautioned the public on Friday about the ill effects of the reckless use and storage of disinfectants, with households using them to eliminate the coronavirus from their surroundings.
The group reminded parents and domestic workers to safely store the disinfectants away from children’s reach to prevent chemical poisoning.
As another precautionary measure, EcoWaste Coalition dissuaded the public from putting them in other containers which may be mistakenly be identified as non-poisonous items.
“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 precautions:
On Safe Usage:
1. Carefully read the product label and follow the usage instructions, including the recommended dose.
2. Do not mix chlorine-based products such as bleach with acids, ammonia, and other cleaning products.
3. Always use alcohol and bleach in a well-ventilated area.
On Safe Storage:
1. Keep alcohol and bleach products in their original containers.
2. Do not transfer the liquid from its original container to another container such as beverage or water bottles.
3. Keep disinfectants out of reach of children as well as pets.
The group issued the reminder after 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 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.”
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 +632-8524-1078 or 8554-8400 local 2311.