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CA Poison Control reports increase in calls for exposure to disinfectants and cleaners

How To Make Homemade Disinfecting Wipes
Posted at 6:26 PM, Apr 28, 2020

The California Poison Control System usually receives between 20 to 30 disinfectant calls a day, but over the last few weeks, that number has doubled.

"We have certainly seen an uptick in the last month-and-a-half to two months," said Lee Cantrell, California Poison Control System San Diego Division Director.

The presence of COVID-19 in our communities has resulted in a spike in calls and reports to California's Poison Control System.

Cantrell says since the beginning of March, there have been about 50 calls per day and the last few days have seen even more.

Calls to the center range from people being exposed to or inhaling these products or people questioning if they’re safe to be used in certain capacities.

"Read your product labels. We've had a lot of situations where people are really concerned about contracting the virus and they'll mix household cleaners, like bleach and some other type of cleaner, and they'll create toxic fumes," Cantrell said.

While calls to poison control centers for exposures to disinfectants and cleaners have been on the rise nationally since March, local San Luis Obispo hospitals and doctors say they haven't seeing any recent cases.

However, they want to remind everyone that the improper use or ingestion of these products could have major health consequences.

"Let's say we're talking about household bleach like Clorox or something like that. You can actually cause pretty significant burns in the mouth and the oropharynx going down into the throat. Those can lead to actual perforations of the esophagus," said Dr. Brad Knox, Tenet Health Central Coast Department of Emergency Medicine Chair.

The CDC reports that children five years old and younger represent a large percentage of calls to poison control centers across the country, but in California, poison control has seen an increase in calls from people in the age range of 20 to 40 years old.