DILG issues reminders against ill effects of misting after policeman’s death

Published June 10, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Chito Chavez

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday warned the ill effects of misting and spraying disinfectants on people in the aftermath of the death of Philippine National Police (PNP) doctor Captain Casey Gutierrez who reportedly inhaled the chemical inside a quarantine facility in Pasig City.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año

With this tragic incident, DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año reiterated the ban on misting and spraying disinfectants on individuals in a bid to control the spread of the dreaded novel coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19).

“Ikinalulungkot namin ang pangyayaring ito lalo pa’t nilinaw naman ng DILG at ng Department of Health (DOH) noong Abril pa na mapanganib sa kalusugan ang misting at spraying (We are saddened by this incident especially that the DILG and the DOH (Department of Health) have announced the health dangers of misting and spraying),’’ Año said.

He also reminded the local government units (LGUs) and all of the DILG’s attached agencies, including the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), on the danger of misting disinfectant chemicals to people.

Año cited DOH’s Memorandum 2020-0157, stating that there is no evidence to support that large scale misting, fogging or spraying indoor or outdoor with disinfecting agents kills the virus.

“LGUs and all public and private establishments are reminded that misting causes additional health concern because pathogens may be dispersed further, may result to skin irritation and inhalation of chemicals, and could even cause environmental pollution,” he added in reference to the DOH memo.

In an advisory dated April 18, 2020, Año advised the LGUs to prohibit the use of disinfection tents, misting chambers or sanitation booths for individuals without PPE (personal protective equipment) in reference to DOH Memorandum 2020-0157.

The said DILG Advisory noted that the commonly used chemical disinfectants such as hypochlorite are irritant to the skin and the mucous membrane (eyes, nose, and throat) and may have adverse effects when inhaled.

He noted that there are also limited studies that support the effectiveness of the said chemical disinfectant.

“Bagamat maganda ang intensyon ng misting, nilinaw na po ng DOH na ‘di ito mainam sa kalusugan (Despite its good intention, the DOH clarified that it is dangerous to the health). Let’s be informed of the dos and don’ts as we continue to fight COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) in a concerted and scientific-based efforts and strategy,” Año noted.

Año also expressed his condolences to the family of Gutierrez as he recognized his service to the people.

“Napakasaklap mawalan ng isa na namang frontliner doctor sa gitna ng pandemya. Ang masakit pa rito’y kapabayaan ang ikinamatay ni Capt. Gutierrez, hindi ang kalaban nating COVID-19 (It is very disheartening to lose a frontline doctor in the midst of the pandemic. What hurts more is that Captain Gutierrez died due to negligence and not due to COVID-19),” he added.

The DILG Chief ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to fully investigate the incident.

Año also ordered the PNP to conduct its probe and unearth the truth about the doctor’s death and to ensure that this incident will not happen again.