June 8, 2020 - A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 39% of respondents had washed their food with bleach or engaged in other “high-risk practices” to fight the coronavirus.
The CDC said it questioned 502 US adults in May through an “opt-in internet panel survey” after poison control centers reported a spike in calls related to cleaners and disinfectants.
The survey was conducted after President Trump suggested at a news conference that people inject disinfectant into their bodies to battle the coronavirus. Trump later said he was joking.
The CDC information, contained in its weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report, did not mention Trump or say his comments contributed to the increase in calls to poison control centers.
“Thirty-nine percent of respondents reported engaging in nonrecommended high-risk practices with the intent of preventing SARS-CoV-2 transmission, such as washing food products with bleach, applying household cleaning or disinfectant products to bare skin, and intentionally inhaling or ingesting these products,” the CDC said.
The CDC said 19% of respondents said they had applied bleach to food items, 18% had used household cleaning and disinfectant products on hands or skin, 10% had misted the body with a cleaning or disinfectant spray, 6% had inhaled vapors from household cleaners or disinfectants and 4% had drunk or gargled diluted bleach solutions, soapy water, and other cleaning and disinfectant solutions.
Twenty-five percent of respondents reported an adverse health effect they believed resulted from using cleaners and disinfectants, such as skin and sinus irritation, dizziness, nausea or breathing problems.
“Covid-19 prevention messages should continue to emphasize evidence-based, safe practices such as frequent hand hygiene and frequent cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces. These messages should include specific recommendations for the safe use of cleaners and disinfectants,” the CDC said.