Disinfectants are undoubtedly playing a large role in our fight against COVID-19, but can too much of a good thing be bad? Is it hazardous? While the typical disinfectant purchased at any grocery store is relatively safe (if used in accordance to its directions), we always recommend individuals take the time and read the manufacturer’s safety data sheet (SDS). SDS can be found on the manufacturer’s websites. Lately, there seems to be a spike in calls to the poison control center due to ingestion or exposure. This usually happens when a homemade disinfectant containing bleach is used in the home or in the workplace. One case involved a person utilizing a homemade mixture of warm water, 10% bleach, and vinegar on their fruits and vegetables to wash them. The mixture would definitely kill any possible viruses, but the combination of bleach and vinegar produces toxic chlorine gas. With the lack of proper ventilation in place, this person was sent on a trip to the Emergency Room.
This individual was correct in washing their fruits and vegetables before consumption, they just didn’t wash it accordingly. I have noticed while shopping at the local grocery stores that many employees liberally spray what looks like disinfectant on every possible surface in which the produce comes into contact with. Ensure you rinse your food with water.
For more information on the World Health Organization’s guideline for food safety, click here.