April 27, 2020
Following ill-advised, stream-of-consciousness comments made by President Donald Trump during a press conference last Thursday night, the makers of Lysol, as well as state officials nationwide, released repeated, urgent warnings on April 23 and April 24 about the dangers of ingesting disinfectants or cleaning products as a way to treat or prevent the novel coronavirus, The New York Times reported.
Specifically, with absolutely no support from medical experts, President Trump in a briefing on Thursday theorized about the possible medical benefits of introducing into the human body— either by injection or some other method— sunlight, ultraviolet light, or household disinfectants to fight the coronavirus.
Among his comments: “… I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute — one minute —and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that ….”
The president also wondered aloud, “Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light? … Supposing you brought the light inside the body, either through the skin or some other way.”
Reckitt Benckiser, the British company that makes Lysol and Dettol, warned customers on April 24 against using disinfectants as treatments, saying that “due to recent speculation and social media activity,” it had been asked about the “internal administration” of disinfectants.
“As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route),” Reckitt Benckiser said in a statement, advising people to use the products in line with guidelines.
Americans are using disinfectants very frequently—and often in large amounts—to kill germs at home, in their cars, and on packages they receive. As a result, accidents with household cleaning products appear to have sharply increased in recent weeks, according to doctors who monitor activity at poison call centers.
On April 20, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an alarming trend of growing calls to poison control centers, and a significant increase in accidental exposures to household cleaners and disinfectants, the Times reported.
On Friday, the American Cleaning Institute, which represents companies in the cleaning products industry in the United States, echoed the warnings against the improper use of disinfectants. “Disinfectants are meant to kill germs or viruses on hard surfaces,” the organization said in a statement. “Under no circumstances should they ever be used on one’s skin, ingested or injected internally.”
Officials in Washington State, where researchers believe that hidden outbreaks were creeping through Seattle early this year, said Thursday night on Twitter that people should not consume laundry detergent capsules or “inject yourself with any kind of disinfectant.”
Just don’t make a bad situation worse,” the state’s emergency management authorities said.
Research contact: @nytimes