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EPA, Lysol maker warns against injecting, eating disinfectants after Trump comments

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In a statement on Friday, the manufacturer of Lysol, a disinfectant spray and cleaning product, issued a statement warning against any internal use after President Donald Trump suggested that people could get an “injection” if “the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute.”

After William Bryan of the Department of Homeland Security said at a White House briefing on Thursday that “emerging results” from new research suggest solar light has a powerful effect in killing the virus on surfaces and in the air.

According to Bryan, the virus in droplets of saliva thrives indoors and in dry conditions. 

“The virus does not survive as well in droplets of saliva.  And that’s important because a lot of testing being done is not necessarily being done, number one, with the COVID-19 virus, and number two, in saliva or respiratory fluids,” Bryan said.

According to research presented, the virus dies the quickest in the presence of direct sunlight.  The virus also has a half-life of about an hour in a room between 70 and 75 degrees with 20 percent humidity.

If the virus is outside, the half life is cut down to a minute and a half due to the UV rays the sun gives off, according to Bryan.

“And then 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,” the president said. “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. So, that, you’re going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds — it sounds interesting to me.”

Bryan said there was no consideration of internal use of disinfectants.

The EPA also released a statement urging American’s to use disinfectants safely.

“EPA is dedicated to its mission of protecting human health and we want all Americans to have access to effective and approved surface disinfectant products,” said Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “We also want everyone follow the directions on the product so that we can safely use registered disinfectants and provide critical protection to our families.”

The EPA also provided guidelines regarding proper use of approved disinfectants:

  • Never apply the product to yourself or others. Do not ingest disinfectant products. This includes never applying any product on List N (the agency’s list of disinfectants to use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19) directly to food.
  • Never mix products unless specified in the use directions. Certain combinations of chemicals will create highly toxic acids or gases.
  • Wash the surface with soap and water before applying disinfectant products if the label mentions pre-cleaning.
  • Follow the contact time listed for your product on List N. This is the amount of time the surface must remain visibly wet to ensure efficacy against the virus. It can sometimes be several minutes.
  • Wash your hands after using a disinfectant. This will minimize your exposure to the chemicals in the disinfectant and the pathogen you are trying to kill.

The CDC recommends using soap and water or bleach to kill the virus. Rubbing alcohol that’s at least 70% alcohol will also kill it on surfaces; 60% for your hands.

A transcript of the White House press briefing can be found here.

For the latest on the coronavirus pandemic, follow our coverage here.

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