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Calls to Florida Poison Control about disinfectants, hand sanitizer increase during COVID-19 pandemic

There are some cleaning supplies you do not want to mix.

TAMPA, Fla. — You may be running out of cleaning products right about now, but be careful when looking for alternatives around your home.

Some household chemicals can turn dangerous when you mix them.

Mixing hydrogen peroxide and vinegar creates acid that can hurt your skin, eyes and respiratory system.

Same with bleach and rubbing alcohol.

And, mixing vinegar and bleach creates a toxic gas.

So does mixing bleach and ammonia, which you may not realize is an ingredient in several common glass cleaning sprays.

Calls to Florida Poison Control about exposures to cleaning products and disinfectants have gone up during March 1-25 this year, compared to March 1-25, 2019.

Household cleaners:

  • Calls in March 2019: 409
  • Calls in March 2020: 518
  • Increase: 27 percent

Disinfectants:

  • Calls in March 2019: 35
  • Calls in March 2020: 62
  • Increase: 77 percent

Hand sanitizer:

  • Calls in March 2019: 52
  • Calls in March 2020: 113
  • Increase: 118 percent

“Some things to keep in mind about the poison center calls and using poison center data is that they’re voluntary data. It’s people calling the poison centers for information. So, I’m sure it really is underreported as to what really is happening out in the public,” said Florida Poison Information Center of Tampa Managing Director Alfred Aleguas.

Aleguas said the risk for exposure is higher right now because people are cleaning their hands and homes more often, plus kids are home from school.

You can call Florida’s Poison Control Centers at 1-800-222-1222.

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