(CMC) – The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has issued a strong warning to Caribbean people against the use of chlorine products as treatments for the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“PAHO does not recommend oral or parenteral use of chlorine dioxide or sodium chlorite-based products for patients with suspected or diagnosed COVID-19 or for anyone else,” said the Washington-based organisation a statement.
“There is no evidence of their effectiveness and the ingestion or inhalation of such products could cause serious adverse effects.”
PAHO recommends that the population should avoid consuming products containing chlorine dioxide or related substances (sodium hypochlorite, bleach, etc) and that all marketing of such products for therapeutic purposes should be reported to the authorities.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic this year, “numerous products containing chlorine dioxide or its derivatives have been marketed alone or in combination with other products, with false claims that they can cure COVID-19 and other associated ailments,” PAHO said.
It said chlorine dioxide, a gas used as bleach in water treatment plants, and sodium hypochlorite, a disinfectant marketed as household bleach, could be toxic if ingested and can cause a variety of adverse effects.
PAHO said ministries of health and regulatory authorities in at least nine countries in the Americas – including the Caribbean, as well as the US Food and Drug Administration, along with networks of poison control centres and the Argentine Network of Medicines Information Centers – have issued alerts on the health hazards of consuming chlorine dioxide or sodium chlorite.
They have warned about the marketing of unproven “miracle” products to prevent or treat COVID-19.
PAHO recommends that health authorities facilitate the reporting of adverse events related to these substances, “and issue the necessary alerts and regulatory actions, including possible sanctions, in order to avoid the recurrence of such events”.