Cleaning with spray detergent, rubber gloves and dish cloth is the safest way to clean a surface. (BCCDC photo)

Cleaning with spray detergent, rubber gloves and dish cloth is the safest way to clean a surface. (BCCDC photo)

B.C. poison control officials see spike in disinfectant exposure calls amid COVID-19

BC Centre for Disease Control urging people to clean safely and not mix chemicals

Poison control officials in B.C. have been responding to a noticeable uptick in calls related to cleaning chemical exposures as many work to keep surfaces clean and COVID-19 free, sparking a warning from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

According to the centre, officials have seen a 60-per-cent spike in calls from adults over the age of 20 years old for exposure to disinfectants since early March, following confirmation of the province’s first death in a long-term care home.

While the centre usually sees nine calls in a week related to adult exposure to bleach, as of late officials have been receiving upwards of 20 calls on any given day.

On March 22, there were more than 65 calls about disinfectant exposure.

Some of the calls have been about people using cleaners in excessive amounts, using chemicals that should be diluted at full bottle strength and mixing chemicals that should not be mixed, the BCCDC said in a statement Thursday.

“Fortunately, we haven’t seen any serious injuries, but ingesting or improperly mixing cleaning chemicals can be fatal,” said Dr. Tom Kosatsky, the centre’s medical director of Environmental Health Services.

“We’re glad to see the people of B.C. taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but please keep in mind that cleaners and disinfectants are powerful substances and need to be used safely.”

Calls about bleach are particularly concerning, the centre continued, because mixing bleach with vinegar, ammonia or rubbing alcohol can create toxic gases.

The BCCDC is urging everyone to use household cleaners safely, by following all label directions, and never mixing chemicals – especially for cleaning food directly, in which case potable water and mild soap should suffice.

If accidentally exposed to chemicals, call the Poison Control Centre at 1-800-567-8911 and do the following first aid measures:

  • Inhalation: ventilate the area and seek fresh air
  • Eye exposure: flush eyes with water for 5-10 minutes
  • Skin exposure: flush skin with water for 5 minutes
  • Ingestion: drink ½ cup to 1 cup of water

@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC HealthCoronavirusHand sanitizer poisoning

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Fire Service at a garage fire in the 14400-block of 82A Ave on March 22, 2021. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
‘Perfect storm’ of variants, increasing COVID cases are concerning for Surrey fire chief

Between police and fire, Larry Thomas said there are 8 confirmed cases, 18 others isolating

Surrey Fire Service is on scene of a fire in the 12300-block of 72A Avenue Saturday morning (April 10). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey crews on scene of house fire

It happened in the 12300-block of 72A Avenue

Emergency crews on scene after a small plane crashed in a grassy area on the northeast side of Boundary Bay Airport Saturday morning (April 10). A freelancer said the plane caught fire and one person was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Small plane crashes at Delta’s Boundary Bay Airport

Plane appears to have suffered ‘significant’ damage, says freelancer

Signage on a South Surrey sidewalk reminds pedestrians to respect social-distancing guidelines. (Photo: Tracy Holmes)
Surrey records 4,400 COVID-19 cases in March

New cases almost doubled between February, March

Surrey RCMP are looking for these two men after a bank in the 12800-block of 96th Avenue was robbed on March 12. (Images: Surrey RCMP)
Police release images of two men suspected of robbing Surrey bank

Robbery happened on March 12 at bank in 12800-block of 96th Avenue

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, was filming near Prospect Lake in Saanich last month. (Photo courtesy Fred Haynes)
Province announces $150,000 towards film studio, fulfilling B.C. NDP promise

Investment to fund movie studio feasibility study at Camosun College

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Most Read