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After president's words, Minnesota Poison Control handles bleach calls

One Minnesota caller inquired about bleach that was safe for internal use.

Minnesota Poison Control has been taking calls this week from residents inquiring about the use of household cleaners such as bleach helping fight the coronavirus. 

While cleaning products have been widely recommended for use cleaning household and workplace surfaces that someone with COVID-19 has come into contact with, President Donald Trump speculated during a press conference last week that people could inject household disinfectant cleaner to kill the coronavirus.

It led to widespread condemnation from health officials and clarification from manufacturers who point out that cleaners are poisonous and not for human consumption.

Since then, there have been reports around the control of officials handling more calls about bleach and products like Lysol, with NBC New York revealing that calls to local poison control have doubled in New York City since the president's comments. Illinois Poison Control has seen a similarly "significant increase" in calls about ingesting chemicals.

On Sunday, Minnesota Poison Control told BMTN that there has been a "recent uptick" in bleach exposures in Minnesota, which is "similar to what has been experienced across the country."

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Director Jon Cole said that while it has not seen a "significant increase in calls" to its service as other parts of the country have, he did note that "calls overall to U.S. Poison Centers in total have increased."

"We did, however, receive a call from someone asking for a place to purchase products safe for internal use (as the President suggested); fortunately we were able to redirect this person to safer therapies," Cole said.

The president said on Thursday: "And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning, because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it’d be interesting to check that. So that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me."

President Trump and the White House have since claimed that his comments about disinfectant were "sarcastic."

If you have any concerns or questions about a household product, you can contact MN Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 or by visiting its website https://mnpoison.org/.

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