The EPA reminded people not to ‘ingest disinfectant products’ right before Trump suggested treating the coronavirus by doing exactly that

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Associated Press
  • In his Thursday briefing, President Donald Trump suggested using UV light or disinfectants inside human bodies as a way to kill the coronavirus.
  • The same day, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a statement reminding people how to safely use disinfectants.
  • The list of advice included “Do not ingest disinfectant products.”
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President Donald Trump suggested Thursday night that there may be a way to inject light, heat, or disinfectant into the human body to kill the novel coronavirus.

The comments were made just hours after the Environmental Protection Agency warned Americans that they should definitely not be ingesting disinfectants.

“Never apply the product to yourself or others. Do not ingest disinfectant products,” the EPA said in a statement.

In addition to not ingesting the chemicals, the advisory released by the EPA on Thursday also told Americans to never apply them to yourself or others, not to add them directly to food, and not to mix them with other products unless the directions say to.

“EPA is dedicated to its mission of protecting human health and we want all Americans to have access to effective and approved surface disinfectant products,” Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said in the statement. “We also want everyone follow the directions on the product so that we can safely use registered disinfectants and provide critical protection to our families.”

Doctors were quick to criticise Trump’s suggestion for a treatment, saying that ingesting disinfectants is dangerous.

Trump’s comments on Thursday came in response to “emerging” results from federal government studies that sunlight, heat, and humidity could help kill the coronavirus on external surfaces. The President asked William Bryan, a science and technology adviser at the Department of Homeland Security, to explore whether using heat inside the body could also kill the virus.

“Suppose that we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light,” Trump said, “Supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way.”

“I see the disinfectant that 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?” he asked. “As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.”

Trump deborah birx
Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, listens as President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Thursday, April 23, 2020, in Washington. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Trump asked Bryan and Dr. Deborah Birx, the federal government’s coronavirus response coordinator to look into his scientific hypothesis.

“I would like you to speak to the medical doctors to see if there’s any way you can apply light and heat to cure. You know? If you could,” he said. “And maybe you can, maybe you can’t. Again, I say maybe you can, maybe you can’t. I’m not a doctor.”

Trump’s comments have also prompted a response from disinfectant manufacturers.

RB, which manufacturers bleach-based disinfectants for the European market, issued a statement urging the public never to attempt to consume its products.

“Due to recent speculation and social media activity RB (the makers of Lysol and Dettol) has been asked whether internal administration of disinfectants may be appropriate for investigation or use as a treatment for coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2),” a company representative said.

The person added: “As a global leader in health and hygiene products we must be clear that under no circumstances should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route).”