The makers of Lysol and other cleaning products, along with doctors, are explicitly warning against injecting disinfectants into the body after President Donald Trump asked if it could work as a treatment for the new coronavirus, COVID-19.
During his Thursday coronavirus press conference, Trump asked the health experts on his coronavirus task force if putting disinfectants into the body “by injection inside or almost a cleaning” would kill the virus.
In response, Reckitt Benckiser, the makers of Lysol, put out a statement telling people not to use their products as a treatment.
“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),” the company said. “As with all products, our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines.”
Disinfectants such as Lysol or bleach are toxic, and ingesting or injecting them can be fatal.
The American Chemistry Council also released a statement on Friday saying that chlorine bleach “should never be administered inside the body under any circumstances.”
“Chlorine bleach and other disinfectants should never be ingested or injected into the body to treat infections such as COVID-19. Such a practice could be lethal or cause serious bodily harm,” they said.
Trump’s comments prompted doctors to urge against trying to treat COVID-19 with disinfectants on social media and to news outlets.
“My concern is that people will die. People will think this is a good idea,” Dr. Craig Spencer, director of global health in emergency medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, told The Washington Post. “This is not willy-nilly, off-the-cuff, maybe-this-will-work advice. This is dangerous.”
“This notion of injecting or ingesting any type of cleansing product into the body is irresponsible and it’s dangerous,” Dr. Vin Gupta, a pulmonologist and global health policy expert, told NBC News. “It’s a common method that people utilize when they want to kill themselves.”
Trump had brought up the idea after William Bryan, the under secretary for science and technology at the Department of Homeland Security, shared “emerging results” from ongoing study that suggest heat, humidity and sunlight might break down COVID-19 on surfaces and in the air. The study is preliminary, and has not been peer-reviewed.
That led Trump to suggest trying to put lights inside the body to treat COVID-19.
“Supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that too. It sounds interesting,” he said.
He then asked about using disinfectants internally.
“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. 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,” Trump said.
Bryan said that using disinfectants in the body is not being tested.
On Friday morning, the White House said that Trump’s questions 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,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement. “Leave it to the media to irresponsibly take President Trump out of context and run with negative headlines.”
Prior to the press conference, the Environmental Protection Agency put out a statement warning people not to use disinfectants internally, after a new report from the Centers for Disease Control said that U.S. poison control centers were seeing a large increase in calls — an increase of 20.4 percent compared to this time last year — asking if they were safe to ingest.
“Never apply the product to yourself or others. Do not ingest disinfectant products,” the EPA said.
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