New data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) reveals the number of calls concerning hand sanitizer products increased by an incredible 70% between Jan. 1 and Aug. 2 of this year. Sadly, more than 12,000 of the new cases involved children age 5 or younger.
While no deaths were reported in the AAPCC data, according to Newsweek, 8 people have died in the U.S. after consuming hand sanitizers contaminated with methanol.
According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, methanol, also known as wood alcohol, can be toxic if ingested or absorbed through the skin. The Food and Drug Administration has compiled an updated list of recalls for the potentially toxic hand sanitizers.
According to Fast Company, AAPCC said that improper use of disinfectants and bleach also spiked a rise in calls to their centers. Their data system shows a 58% rise during this time period for calls involving disinfectants and a 38% rise for inquiries regarding bleach products. Here again, calls involving children were higher than those involving adults aged 40-59 years of age.
Chlorine bleach is a powerful cleaner that is very effective in killing germs like viruses, bacteria, and fungi. But it is also one of the most toxic chemicals found in homes. When you use bleach to clean surfaces, it leaves a residue that travels into your home's air that you breathe, affecting your lungs and is also absorbed through your skin, says Ellen Kamhi, PhD, author of The Natural Medicine Chest.
"Chlorine is extremely dangerous and was used during World War I as a choking agent," she told Newsmax.
The active ingredient in bleach, sodium hypochlorite, is incredible corrosive and capable of causing irritation, pain, and blistering if it comes into contact with your skin. It is also potentially dangerous when inhaled.
The Environmental Working Group has published a list of safe and effective cleaners to fight the coronavirus.
The AAPCC recommends people read labels carefully before using any of these products and store them high and out of children's reach.
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