East Orange, NJ, April 24, 2020: Mayor Ted R. Green and Dr. Monique S. Griffith, Director of Health and Human Services, are issuing additional public health guidance on the proper and safe usage of disinfectants in fighting the COVID-19 virus.
Following a statement made during President Donald Trump’s televised press conference yesterday, federal officials from the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) immediately issued warnings against the ingestion or injection of household disinfectants into the human body for any reason.
“In fact, doing so could quite possibly be fatal,” said Dr. Griffith. “The internal use of disinfectants is not a viable cure for the coronavirus and could likely cause more deaths."
According to the EPA, disinfectants — including those on the agency’s list of disinfectants to use against COVID-19 — should never be applied to people or directly to food.
“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.”
When using an EPA-registered surface disinfectant, always follow the product’s directions and remember:
- 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. 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.
If you or anyone you know has ingested or injected a disinfectant or household cleaner of any kind, please call 911 immediately.
According to the CDC, there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms.
If you have tested positive for or are showing symptoms of the coronavirus, we strongly urge you to follow the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
1. Stay home except to get medical care.
2. Separate yourself from everyone in your home.
3. Monitor your symptoms and follow instructions from your healthcare provider.
4. If your symptoms worsen and/or breathing becomes extremely difficult, go to your nearest hospital.
If you have any questions, please call the Department of Health and Human Services at 973.266.5480.