The parent company that makes Lysol issued a statement on Friday warning against the ingestion of their disinfectant products into the human body, after President Donald Trump suggested that tests be done on whether they could help eradicate the coronavirus in the human body.
“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. “As with all products, our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines. Please read the label and safety information.”
Even some federal agencies have issued warnings again the use of disinfectants.
The Environmental Protection Agency warned Americans late on Thursday to “never apply the product to yourself or others. Do not ingest disinfectant products.”
Of course, disinfectants are poisonous to ingest, and most products warn of internal use.
But at Thursday’s White House press briefing, Trump advanced the idea that the ingestion of disinfectants should be studied as a way of killing the virus in the human body.
“I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute,” Trump said. “And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.”
Trump was asking a top Homeland Security official, William Bryan, whether such a treatment can be tested. But in coverage after the briefing, medical professionals quickly warned against the idea of such treatments. On MSNBC, Dr. Vin Gupta said that “this notion of injecting or ingesting any type of cleansing product into the body is irresponsible and it’s dangerous.” He said that even small amounts can be deadly.
Trump’s advancement of potential coronavirus treatments has been a concern of medical professionals, even among members of the White House task force on the pandemic.
For weeks, the president has been talking about the use of hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment. The drug has been used to fight malaria, but Trump has touted its use after some promising studies.
But Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has repeatedly said that the effectiveness of the drug is unclear, as clinical trials still need to be conducted. This week, a Veterans Administration study was released that tempered some of the boosterism over its use. It showed that it had no benefit, and a potentially higher risk of death for some patients. The study still has to be peer reviewed.
The warnings about the use of disinfectants reflect concerns that, in the midst of a pandemic, people will be encouraged by the statements of Trump and other media figures to give them a try. As concerns were raised about the use of hydroxychloroquine, Trump told reporters at a briefing earlier this month, “What do you have to lose? It’s been out there for a long time. What do you have to lose? I hope they use it.”
In March, an Arizona man died after he and his wife took a form of the drug that is used to clean fish tanks. The man’s wife told NBC News that they had heard about the drug during a White House press briefing and they decided to mix a small amount with a liquid and drink it as a way to prevent the virus. But they quickly got sick. Some conservative outlets, including the Washington Free Beacon, have raised questions about the veracity of the wife’s story.
Shortly after concerns were raised about the use of the drug, one of the largest non-profit hospital systems issued an advisory warning against the use of “inappropriate medications and household products” to prevent or treat coronavirus. That included hydroxychloroquine, which many medical professionals said should be used only in consultation with a physician.
Banner Health’s poison and drug information center medical director, Dr. Daniel Brooks, said in a statement, “The last thing that we want right now is to inundate our emergency departments with patients who believe they found a vague and risky solution that could potentially jeopardize their health.”
On Friday, the FDA issued an advisory warning that the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as coronavirus treatments should be used only in clinical trial settings or for treating hospitalized patients.
“FDA will continue to investigate risks associated with the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for COVID-19, and we will communicate publicly when we have more information,” the agency said.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany claimed that Trump’s comments were taken out of context.
“President Trump has repeatedly said that Americans should consult with medical doctors regarding coronavirus treatment, a point that he emphasized again during yesterday’s briefing,” she said in a statement. “Leave it to the media to irresponsibly take President Trump out of context and run with negative headlines.”