Bleach Companies and Doctors Issue Warnings After Trump Suggests Injecting Disinfectants to Fight Coronavirus
By Meredith B. Kile
John Nacion/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Doctors and manufacturers of household cleaners have issued statements in response to comments President Trump made in a briefing on Thursday, during which he suggested that injection of disinfectants could be used to fight the coronavirus.
Following a presentation by the acting Undersecretary of Homeland Security for Science and Technology, William Bryan -- during which Bryan noted that isopropyl alcohol (the active ingredient in most hand sanitizers) and bleach (commonly used in many disinfectant products) kill the virus -- Trump took the podium to offer his thoughts.
"And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute," the president said. "And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. So, that, you’re going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds -- it sounds interesting to me."
When speaking to the press on Friday, Trump suggested that his comments on injecting disinfectants were meant to be taken as sarcasm. "I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen," he said.
However, the remarks instantly went viral, with "#dontdrinkbleach" trending on Twitter in the United States, and many medical experts and disinfectant brands taking to social media to warn against the dangers of ingesting cleaning products and other substances containing bleach or isopropyl alcohol.
Lysol issued a statement on Friday against "improper use of disinfectants," via parent company Reckitt Benckiser Group: "We must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route). As with all products, our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines."
Reminder: Lysol disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as directed and in line with usage guidelines pic.twitter.com/yPVhvINxbU
The verified Twitter account of the U.S. Surgeon General did not address the president's comments directly, but posted a tweet warning followers to "PLEASE always talk to your health provider first before administering any treatment/ medication to yourself or a loved one."
A reminder to all Americans- PLEASE always talk to your health provider first before administering any treatment/ medication to yourself or a loved one.
Your safety is paramount, and doctors and nurses are have years of training to recommend what’s safe and effective.
— Dr. Vivek Murthy, U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) April 24, 2020
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden also issued a more succinct statement on Trump's comments, via his official Twitter account, writing, "I can’t believe I have to say this, but please don’t drink bleach."
I can’t believe I have to say this, but please don’t drink bleach.
I see a lot of you urging people not to drink bleach. But worth some introspection: NONE of you cared about this issue or even talked about it until Trump brought it up. And then all of sudden you hate the idea?