Safe-at-home orders have put some consumers at greater risk for poisonings due to misuse of disinfectants, bleach and hand sanitizers, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC). Since state-mandated shutdowns began in March to stop the spread of COVID-19, the AAPCC has seen a sharp increase in poisonings from these products in April compared to last April.

The spikes include a 122% increase in accidental poisonings related to disinfectants, a 77% hike for bleach, and a 56% jump for hand sanitizers. The Poison control group says it is not sure whether President Donald Trump’s comments last month during a White House coronavirus task force press briefing had anything to do with the surge of new poisonings. Trump had suggested scientists research if ingesting or injecting disinfectants could work as a treatment for COVID-19. While Trump claims he was only be “sarcastic,” the makers of Lysol felt compelled to issue a statement warning consumers not to misuse the cleaning products because doing so could be dangerous or even fatal.

Reports of hand sanitizer ingestion among children younger than 12 jumped by more than 50% from January 2020 to March 2020, with most cases involving children ages 5 and younger, the AAPCC noted. But an increase was seen even among adults. One reason may be because the products are not in the original containers they were sold in.

This concern has even prompted the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to tweet messages from “Quinn the Quarantine Fox,” saying “Keep your hand sanitizer in its original bottle not in something like a maple syrup bottle — a real thing I saw someone do.”


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