Cleaning products and disinfectants can reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19, and Americans are using these products more frequently to protect their families, employees and customers. Unfortunately, according to the associations, a drastic increase in cleaning and disinfecting will lead to more accidental exposures to these products, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that calls to poison control centers about exposures have increased since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
“As the public focuses on cleaning and disinfecting common spaces during re-opening, following product labels and instructions is paramount to ensuring public safety. Cleaning and disinfecting products are safe when used as directed and consumers should continue to follow on-label guidance,” said Dr. Steve Bennett, senior vice president, scientific & regulatory affairs, HCPA.
“The combination of properly trained cleaning personnel along with the use of appropriate cleaners and disinfectants is critical in preventing the further spread of this virus as businesses reopen. More than ever, businesses are trying new products and systems and cleaning and disinfecting more frequently, making it imperative that employers and workers follow manufacturer and OSHA guidance to protect the safety and health of workers and the public,” said Bill Balek, general counsel, ISSA .
Although it is dangerous to misuse cleaning products and disinfectants, they are safe and effective when used as intended and according to the directions on the label. It is also important to follow certain safety precautions, which can help reduce the risk of chemical exposure, including:
• Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves or a mask.
• Use cleaning products and disinfectants in a well-ventilated area.
• Never mix chemicals. Certain combinations of chemicals can be hazardous to health.
• Keep cleaning products and disinfectants safely secured, and especially out of reach of children.
• Never ingest or inject a cleaning product or disinfectant, or apply it directly to your skin.
• Wash your hands immediately after using cleaning products and disinfectants.
Additionally, OSHA recently issued guidance to help workers navigate new cleaning protocols that have been introduced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Employers are required to provide specific training on chemicals used in the workplace, as well as a plan for cleaning to prevent the overuse of certain products. Employers are also required to provide PPE. These measures will help limit chemical risks and prevent accidental exposures related to cleaning.
The Household & Commercial Products Association (HCPA) is the premier trade association representing companies that manufacture and sell $180 billion annually of trusted and familiar products used for cleaning, protecting, maintaining, and disinfecting homes and commercial environments. HCPA member companies employ 200,000 people in the U.S. whose work helps consumers and workers to create cleaner, healthier and more productive lives.
About ISSA: The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association
The leading trade association for the cleaning industry worldwide, ISSA has a membership that includes more than 9,300 distributor, manufacturer, manufacturer representative, building service contractor, in-house service provider, residential cleaning, and associated service members.