HEALTH ADVISORY: Disinfectants Sold and Stored in Drinking Water Bottles and Other Inappropriate Containers

July 22, 2020

Background:

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is reminding the public only to use disinfectant and pesticide products that are in properly labeled containers from the product’s manufacturer.

As reported to the Texas Poison Center Network, a pesticide control company in Texas has repurposed plastic drinking water bottles to sell a product used for COVID-19 disinfection. In one case, a person took a drink from a clear labeled plastic water bottle found in the refrigerator at work, then noticed the taste and found a small label saying "Virucide" stuck over the water label. In another situation, a child accidentally consumed the chemical by drinking from a water bottle. Although both cases ended up in the emergency department, there were no adverse health outcomes.

The product, Nisus DSV virucide, is a broad-spectrum disinfectant, sanitizer and virucide that can kill many different types of bacteria and viruses. EPA has determined Nisus DSV to be effective for use against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which is the cause of COVID-19 (https://cfpub.epa.gov/giwiz/disinfectants/index.cfm). When used correctly in accordance with the instructions on the label, disinfectant products are safe and effective. However, improper use can have harmful health effects.

Clinical Presentation:

Nisus DSV is highly corrosive with a pH of 12 and should not be consumed. The risk of harmful effects depends on the route and amount of exposure. Brief exposure may cause eye irritation and drying of skin. Longer exposures may lead to burns and blindness or other permanent eye injuries. Ingestion and inhalation of vapor from the product can irritate the throat and respiratory tract. Ingestion of high concentrations may lead to central nervous system effects and symptoms include headaches, dizziness, and drowsiness.

Recommendations for Public:

To reduce improper use and prevent unnecessary chemical exposures, users should:

  • Seek immediate medical attention if you have swallowed Nisus DSV or any other disinfectant chemical or are experiencing symptoms from use of this product and contact your poison center at 1-800-222-1222.
  • Always read and understand directions completely on the product label before application.
  • Only use disinfectant or pesticide products that are in properly labeled containers from the manufacturer.
  • Store disinfectants and cleaning products in a location out of the reach and out of sight of children. Do not store chemicals where food is stored.
  • Do not mix disinfectants with soaps and detergents.

Guidance for cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools and homes may be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-cdc-release-guidance-cleaning-and-disinfecting-spaces-where-americans-live-work-and).

For More Information:

Anyone who believes they may have been exposed to disinfectant products and are concerned about their health should contact their healthcare provider or the Texas Poison Center Network at 1-800-222-1222.

DSHS Environmental Surveillance and Toxicology Branch
512-776-7268
epitox@dshs.texas.gov

https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-cdc-release-guidance-cleaning-and-disinfecting-spaces-where-americans-live-work-and

https://cfpub.epa.gov/giwiz/disinfectants/index.cfm

Last updated July 22, 2020