Anti-COVID-19 disinfection tunnels may harm eyes, say alkali makers

By: |
April 14, 2020 2:45 AM

The use of these chemicals on the face is even more harmful with chances of ingress into eyes, nostrils and mouth, according to New Delhi-based AMAI (Alkali Manufacturers Association of India).

The alkali industry has stepped up efforts to maintain adequate supply of disinfection chemicals during the current challenging times,” said Patel. (Representative image)“The alkali industry has stepped up efforts to maintain adequate supply of disinfection chemicals during the current challenging times,” said Patel. (Representative image)

Even as disinfection tunnels are mushrooming countrywide as an anti-COVID-19 procedure, leading alkali makers have warned that spraying chemicals such as sodium hypochlorite solution and hydrogen peroxide can be dangerous to human beings. The use of these chemicals on the face is even more harmful with chances of ingress into eyes, nostrils and mouth, according to New Delhi-based AMAI (Alkali Manufacturers Association of India).

Alarmed by the reports of “special chambers being erected that spray a mist of disinfectant chemicals on people passing through them,” the AMAI has started liaisoning with the governments and civil bodies “for safe usage of these disinfectants”, president Jayantibhai Patel told FE.

The alkali industry is aghast at reports that “chemicals like sodium hypochlorite and hydrogen peroxide are being used for disinfecting human beings”. Disinfectants work on surfaces, not on human bodies, said Patel. “Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Such substances can be harmful to mucous membranes of eyes and mouth,” said Patel, citing the World Health Organisation.

Various versions of disinfectant tunnels are coming up in several public places, including vegetable markets and police stations, in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana, Kashmir, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, the Delhi-NCR and Punjab. Indian Railways loco shed in Maharashtra’s Bhusaval has also come out with its version of disinfectant tunnel. However, last week, some state governments, including Kerala and Tamil Nadu, had dismissed the use of such disinfectant gateways as unscientific.

According to the AMAI, for disinfecting hands, alcohol-based sanitisers are recommended. Any other part of the body should be cleaned using ordinary soap and water only.

“The alkali industry has stepped up efforts to maintain adequate supply of disinfection chemicals during the current challenging times,” said Patel.

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