CDC Study Finds Using Disinfectants Such As Bleach is a Risky Business

By Paul Riegler on 6 June 2020
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The incorrect use of Clorox wipes may be the least of many people’s challenges when it comes to using chemicals or disinfectants when trying to protect against the spread of Covid-19.

Indeed, thanks to some unwanted publicity, visitors to the Clorox wipes website are greeted with a pop-up banner that says, “Bleach and other disinfectants are not suitable for consumption or injection under any circumstances.”

A new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that Americans are engaging in high-risk cleaning practices in attempting to minimize the likelihood of contracting the virus.

Indeed, 39% of respondents said they washed food with bleach, applied disinfectant products or household cleaning products to bare skin, and intentionally ingested or inhaled such products.

The survey also found that people were cleaning more frequently because of the pandemic but only half of those surveyed said they really knew how to clean and disinfect their home safely.  The one-third  who acknowledged using such products in a high-risk manner were found to report a higher number of health issues than those who didn’t.

The study found that many people had a limited understanding of how to use chemical cleans and how to mix them.  Only 23% knew that bleach should only be mixed with room-temperature water and 35% knew that bleach should not be mixed with vinegar, while 58% knew that it should not be mixed with ammonia.  Almost two-thirds – 64% – knew that eye protection was recommended for the use of many cleaners and disinfectants, and 71% knew that gloves were highly recommended.   Over two thirds – 68% – knew that hand-washing was recommended after using such cleaners, and 73% knew that adequate ventilation was necessary.

The CDC surveyed 502 adults with a median age of 46. Fifty-two percent of respondents were female, 48% were male, while 63% were white, 16% were Hispanic, 12% were black, and 8% were multiracial or of other race or ethnicity. Respondents represented all Census regions of the United States: 38% were from the South, 21% were from the Midwest, and 18% were from the Northeast.

Oh, and about those Clorox wipes: They aren’t a substitute for cleaners, surfaces which will come into contact with food later should be rinsed after the Clorox preparation dries, they should not be used in multiple rooms (cut them in half, FBT’s experts say), and they should not come into contact with anything that you (or your pet) might ingest.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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