Can Disinfecting Groceries Make them Toxic?

disinfecting groceries
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In the past six months, the vast majority of the population has remained extra cautious with cleaning and disinfecting homes in order to cut down the risk of the transmission of coronavirus. However, many people have also started disinfecting groceries, which can possibly go wrong and be harmful to health unless done in a proper way.

According to reports from the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been an increase in emergency room visits and cases of poisoning. In the majority of the cases, the poisoning has been a result of using improper technique and cleaners.

Nearly all health agencies including the CDC has released guidelines on how to safely disinfect homes and every new item or groceries that a person may buy and bring home.

However, a number of people may still be using a harmful combination of disinfectants or using cleaners on unnecessary items such as fruits, as shown by the results of an online survey held back in May.

The findings also highlighted that people living in certain areas not only lack knowledge regarding the dangers of disinfectants but are also not aware of protective gear that should be worn during any cleaning procedures as well as the storage of cleaning products.

Nearly thirty-nine percent of the participants were using the cleaners in the wrong and possibly dangerous ways.

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For instance, a number of people reported using household disinfectants on the skin although they are known to cause damage to the skin which is why protective gear like gloves are worn while using them.

In comparison with May, a lot fewer people are making the mistake of using disinfectants in such a way but the vast majority continues to use a cleaner which is notoriously linked to various poisoning cases – bleach.

The report from May also showed that in addition to the aforementioned wrong uses of disinfectants, many people were also disinfecting groceries using bleach.

Bleach has always been known to be dangerous if not used in a proper way and health experts warned about its usage even before the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Though using diluted bleach with proper protective equipment is safe, mixing it with other disinfectants and using an undiluted version can pave the way for a trip to the emergency room due to poisoning.

This is why it is recommended that people use other suggested cleaners that can work just as good as bleach especially if they have children and pets at home.

However, due to the fear regarding coronavirus, there have been reports of people gargling with diluted bleach, using it to clean hands, and even disinfecting groceries.

Using bleach in any such way can damage the health and even be life-threatening. Disinfecting fruits and vegetables is, so far, the most common misuse of the bleach reported so far.

While the CDC continues to encourage people to disinfect homes and follow hygienic practices including frequent handwashing, it warns people against the use of harmful disinfectants.

Items such as food and others should never be cleaned using household disinfectants. For personal hygiene, using sanitizers and washing hands is effective and provides maximum protection.


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