ALERT - Chemical Exposure Increase Since COVID-19 Pandemic Began.
The rise in the use of cleaners and disinfectants in the wake of COVID-19 is of concern. Over Exposure to the hazardous chemicals in these products can have detrimental health effects. The American Association of Poison Control Centers call data shows a sharp increase in exposures reported compared to years before.
During January-March 2020, poison centers received 45,550 exposure calls related to cleaners (28,158) and disinfectants (17,392), representing overall increases of 20.4% and 16.4% from January-March 2019 (37,822) and January-March 2018 (39,122), respectively. Although NPDS data do not provide information showing a definite link between exposures and COVID-19 cleaning efforts, there appears to be a clear temporal association with increased use of these products.
Source: CDC - April 24, 2020
EMPLOYER LIABILITY & COVID-19 / Disinfectants
Are employers responsible for protecting their employees from contracting COVID-19 from within the workplace?
Under COVID-19 - Standards OSHA states: The General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970, 29 USC 654(a)(1), which requires employers to furnish to each worker "employment and a place of employment, which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm."
Protecting Employees from exposure to chemicals in cleaners and disinfectants
Also under COVID-19 - Standards OSHA states: Employers must also protect their workers from exposure to hazardous chemicals used for cleaning and disinfection. Employers should be aware that common sanitizers and sterilizers could contain hazardous chemicals. Where workers are exposed to hazardous chemicals, employers must comply with OSHA's Hazard Communication standard (in general industry, 29 CFR 1910.1200), Personal Protective Equipment standards (in general industry, 29 CFR 1910 Subpart I) and other applicable OSHA chemical standards.
Disinfectant / Sanitizer Cleaner
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VP, Dvelup International
Chlorine Dioxide & Sanitizing Products