In the wake of chemicals like sodium hypochlorite solution and hydrogen peroxide being used for sanitisation to fight Covid-19, several stakeholders have underlined the need to exercise caution while using disinfecting chemicals directly on human beings.
Sodium hypochlorite is a strong disinfectant to be used in recommended dilution to disinfect surfaces and objects that are contaminated or disinfected. Contact with skin can cause itching and irritation leading to skin problems. Similarly, hydrogen peroxide is a strong bleaching agent and its use should be restricted to objects and surfaces. The use of these chemicals on your face is even more harmful with chances of ingress into eyes, nostrils and mouth, causing health issues.
There have been recent reports from parts of India where migrant workers were sprayed on disinfectants.
All indoor areas such as entrance lobbies, corridors and staircases, escalators, elevators, security guard booths, office rooms, meeting rooms, cafeteria should be mopped with a disinfectant with 1 percent sodium hypochlorite or phenolic disinfectants, says an advisory by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
"There have been recent reports in the media on chemicals like sodium hypochlorite solution and hydrogen peroxide being used for disinfection on human beings. In fact, there are also instances of special chambers being erected that spray a mist of disinfectant chemicals on people passing or walking through them. We are liaising with the government and civic bodies for safe usage of these disinfectants", said Mr Jayantibhai Patel, President AMAI, representative body of the entire alkali industry in India that produces sodium hypochlorite, chlorine, bleaching solution/powder, etc. used for disinfection.
During these challenging times, members of AMAI have stepped up their efforts to maintain adequate supply of disinfection chemicals to supplement the efforts of the government in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. However chemicals such as sodium hypochlorite, chlorine, hydrogen peroxide and bleach solutions should be handled with utmost care, avoiding skin contact. In case of contact with skin, the exposed part should be thoroughly washed with a running stream of water, states AMAI.
WHO recommends use of disinfection chemicals such as sodium hypochlorite, chlorine, bleach solution (in recommended dilution) for disinfecting surfaces and objects. To maintain personal hygiene, WHO also recommends frequent washing of hands with soap and water.
(Aditi Roy can be contacted at [email protected])