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posted by martyb on Sunday June 07 2020, @10:44PM   Printer-friendly
from the Dunning–Kruger-Effect-or-Darwin-Award-Candidates? dept.

Americans are drinking bleach and dunking food in it to prevent COVID-19:

Americans are doing more housecleaning and disinfecting amid the COVID-19 pandemic and many are turning to wild and dangerous tactics—like drinking and gargling bleach solutions.

Back in April, the agency noted an unusual spike in poison control center calls over harmful exposures to household cleaning products, such as bleach. The timing linked it to the spread of the pandemic coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 (not statements by President Trump). But to get a clearer idea of what was behind the rise, CDC researchers set up an online survey of household cleaning and disinfection knowledge and practices.

In all, they surveyed 502 US adults and used statistical weighting to make it representative of the country's population. The findings—published Friday in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report—are stunning.

Overall, 60 percent said they were doing more cleaning and disinfecting amid the pandemic and 39 percent admitted to doing at least one non-recommended cleaning practice the CDC considers high risk.

The questions and responses are fully available (NO paywall); read it here:

Journal Reference
Gharpure R, Hunter CM, Schnall AH, et al. Knowledge and Practices Regarding Safe Household Cleaning and Disinfection for COVID-19 Prevention, [OPEN] MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (DOI: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6923e2)

Questions from the survey:

Recommended Best Practices:

  • When making a dilute bleach solution, only room temperature water should be used
  • Bleach should not be mixed with vinegar
  • Hand sanitizers should be kept out of reach of children
  • Bleach should not be mixed with ammonia
  • For some household cleaning products, eye protection should be used during use
  • Hands should be washed with soap and water after using household cleaning products
  • For some household cleaning products, gloves should be used during use
  • Good ventilation (air flow) is needed when using cleaning chemicals
  • Household cleaning products should be kept out of reach of children

Risky Practices Performed:

  • Drank or gargled diluted bleach solution
  • Drank or gargled soapy water
  • Drank or gargled a household cleaner
  • Inhaled the vapor of household cleaners like bleach
  • Misted the body with cleaning spray or alcohol spray
  • after being in public spaces
  • Used household cleaner to clean or disinfect hands or bare skin
  • Washed fruits, vegetables, or other food products with bleach

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Sunday June 07 2020, @10:55PM (3 children)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Sunday June 07 2020, @10:55PM (#1004639)

    Replace 'bleach' with 'soap' in the second section, and you're not going to go hazardously far wrong. And since soap and water has a dual-action mechanism (at least according to Alton Brown) of emulsifying and stripping the delivery mechanism [] from viruses, why aren't people abusing and hoarding soap instead? At least that's a little more comprehensible.

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  • (Score: 1) by nitehawk214 on Monday June 08 2020, @12:55AM (1 child)

    by nitehawk214 (1304) on Monday June 08 2020, @12:55AM (#1004679)

    People were hording, at least around where I am. But by late May stocks of all cleaning products and things like toilet paper were back to normal.

    "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 08 2020, @05:38AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 08 2020, @05:38AM (#1004737)

      We had a sale on toilet paper at one of the stores here. I think they ordered too much thinking demand would stay high, but it ended up not.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by VLM on Monday June 08 2020, @09:15PM

    by VLM (445) on Monday June 08 2020, @09:15PM (#1005006)

    More than a quarter century ago I worked thru school at a food store and got seconded to help out in the deli counter occasionally which is a very long story to explain that I know what they're doing.

    Most soaps are either nice smelling or some commercial grade liq detergents are near odorless (any stink is added by consumer grade manufacturers).

    So we had to dip stuff in a dilute bleach solution which stinks of chlorine and if you can still smell chlorine either the stuff is still too wet aka corrosion and just generally being gross or hasn't been wiped clean (food reside plus bleach is stinky; clean stuff that was dipped in solution doesn't have stinky bleach stick to it).

    The slicer was actually pretty interesting to clean in that it had multiple sprays to generally clean areas that food never touched, disinfect other areas, and lube parts, like an inside out car engine where all the wet surfaces were exposed.

    By deli "stuff" I mean inedible machines and tools. Like the giant meat slicer machine or the serving spoons.

    We did not dip deli food in the bleach. But if we did, it would make more sense as you can smell when the bleach is rinsed off better than when all the soap is rinsed off.

    Also as a side note I can unfortunately report that eating a ridiculous small amount of detergent due to poor rinsing CAN result in massive explosive diarrhea. On the other hand, consuming small amounts of bleach, not enough to corrode skin but enough to smell and taste bad, seems quite harmless, about like drinking chlorinated water. Sometimes in the Army water chlorinated heavily enough to make the medics happen meant it smelled and tasted like pool water; better gross taste than giardia I guess.

    I could totally imagine someone buying produce at the food store that some idiots have coughed all over for days wanting to soak their potatoes in a bit of dilute bleach water.

    I suspect the big problem with bleach was much like toilet paper; I'm told by Big Brother to only shop every two weeks and there's a shortage of bleach and TP so I better buy enough for the next six months today, and everyone doing that resulted in a huge shortage for awhile. Normally we'd all buy a bottle of bleach every six months for laundry or whatever, but everyone insisting its the end of the world and better buy now because it won't be here next week means we all had to buy six months bleach in one week interval of shopping.