Cleaning products causing concerns over toxins

As people scramble to disinfect their surroundings with cleaning products, exposure to some of these items may be proving poisonous.

Hand sanitizers and disinfectants could be dangerous if used improperly.

Dr. Wendy Stephan of the Florida Poison Information Center said, “We see children ingesting them. They’re getting access to the bottles. They’re in purses, they’re in pockets, they’re on the bed side tables. They’re kinda everywhere right now, and as a result they’re available to children and to teens, so we really want to consider that these products are toxic because of that high alcohol concentration.”

Stephan said she has received over 200 calls from across the state since the beginning of the year about sanitizer poisonings, with 16 cases coming from Broward County.

Stephan said, “We’ve seen accidental exposures, mostly accidental, so these can be in the eyes, and so we see burning and pain, redness in the eye. Then in children, when they get a little bit more than a taste, we can start to see symptoms relating to drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. We could even see a drop in blood sugar, which is what’s really frightening.”

Officials have warned that products with images of food could be tempting to children.

Officials said that while hand sanitizers are a popular way to disinfect, they may not be the most effective.

Stephan said, “The most effective way to control the spread is through washing your hands with soap and water. It doesn’t have to be an antibacterial soap cause, remember, this is a virus, so the antibacterial soaps don’t really give you an advantage. If you can’t get to that soap and water, then you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizers for that extra margin of security.”

People who think they may have been exposed to poisons can call the Florida Poison Information Center at 1-800-222-1222.

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