Recent incident of sanitising a group of workers in UP's Bareilly district has sparked a debate on the use of a chemical, sodium hypochlorite, as disinfectant.
Commonly known as bleach, sodium hypochlorite is mostly used for surface purification, bleaching, odour removal and water disinfection according to a latest report by the Free Press Journal.
In another video doing the rounds on social media, officials in Kerala could be seen spraying soap solution on a group of people.
The Quint spoke to Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, who raised concerns about the use of sodium hypochlorite on humans.
"“Medically, you cannot sanitise anyone with sodium hypochlorite. There’s no proof that it can be used as a disinfectant for humans. It has rather detrimental effects on anyone who comes in contact with this chemical.”" - Dr Suranjit Chatterjee
According to Dr Chatterjee, sodium hypochlorite 'is not meant for sanitising people at mass level'. He also warns about the harmful effects when exposed to this chemical:
"“It’s detrimental and when sprayed it can go into eyes and other open cavities.”" - Dr Suranjit Chatterjee
In response to a question from The Quint, Ravi Agarwal, founder of Toxics Link, an advocacy group that works on the impact of chemicals on environment, also criticised the usage of sodium hypochlorite.
"“The spraying done on workers is wrong and shows lack of training and concern by those who did this.”" - Ravi Agarwal, Toxics Link
Agarwal also spoke about the debilitating effect of exposure to sodium hypochlorite on humans.
"“Sodium Hypochlorite should not be ingested. It has corrosive action on skin and gastrointestinal systems, and inhalation can cause lung injury.”" - Ravi Agarwal, Toxics Link
Meanwhile some senior journalists also sparred on Twitter as they debated on the impact of sodium chloride in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.
Disinfectant spraying of people, esp those coming from outside, is acceptable in COVID season. Watch China, Indonesia etc. Even with new airport arrivals. Drones are also used to spray. Disinfectants aren’t insecticides. Better to not outrage without facts.— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) March 30, 2020
China killed students at a public square. Shekhar, you reported that from HK when we were both at India Today. It herds Uyghurs. Indonesia massacred approx 1m during the year of living dangerously. This 'disinfectant' was not meant for humans, nor sprayed on air arrivals. https://t.co/c3KbK9rfPv— Salil Tripathi سلیل تریپاٹھی સલિલ ત્રિપાઠી (@saliltripathi) March 30, 2020
Any whatabouters saying "other places also spray disinfectant" please note this is sodium hypochlorite, which is not what is used elsewhere because it is *not safe for humans*. https://t.co/bsqoZEugyM— Mihir Sharma (@mihirssharma) March 30, 2020
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