After it was evident that the COVID-19 virus had made its way into the U.S. and was spreading at a rapid rate, Americans scrambled to get their hands on household cleaning items (i.e. disinfecting wipes/sprays, hand sanitizer, soap, etc.). In fact, so much of these products were purchased that it has resulted in a nationwide shortage. One of the reasons why individuals stocked up on cleaning and disinfecting products is because health experts have stated that one of the only ways to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus is to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces among other things regularly.
Although the constant disinfecting and cleaning has likely helped prevent the spread of certain germs and bacteria, it has also caused more accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “the daily number of calls to poison centers increased sharply at the beginning of March 2020 for exposures to both cleaners and disinfectants.” An analysis was conducted on calls made between January-March 2020 and the data was then compared to the number of calls that were made to poison centers during those same months in 2018 and 2019.
Here’s what the analysis discovered.
During January–March 2020, the CDC says that poison centers received 45,550 exposure calls related to cleaners (28,158) and disinfectants (17,392). These numbers represent “an overall increase of 20.4% and 16.4% from January–March 2019 (37,822) and January–March 2018 (39,122).” It was also determined that:
- “Among all cleaner categories, bleaches accounted for the largest percentage of the increase.”
- “Nonalcohol disinfectants and hand sanitizers accounted for the largest percentages of the increase among disinfectant categories.”
- “Inhalation represented the largest percentage increase from 2019 to 2020 among all exposure routes.”
The CDC shared one woman’s experience with household cleaners that landed her in the emergency room. The source says that after the woman heard from her local news source that she should clean all recently purchased groceries before consuming them, she filled her sink with 10% bleach solution, vinegar, and hot water. She then soaked her produce.
As the woman began to clean her other items, she started to smell chlorine. The woman “developed difficulty breathing, coughing, and wheezing.” After calling 911 and being transported to the hospital, she was said to have suffered mild hypoxemia and end-expiratory wheezing and received treatment for her symptoms. She was later discharged from the hospital.
Can a person sue a company for chemical exposure?
Under certain circumstances they can, however, if the company provided a warning and a person ignored that warning and used the product in an unsafe manner, then the likelihood of filing a successful lawsuit is slim. With that said, you should not assume that you can or cannot file a product liability lawsuit against a company—that is something a skilled Madison, MS personal injury lawyer needs to determine. So, if you suffered an injury or illness as a result of using a product and you think you have a potential case against a company, contact Ballard Law, PLLC to discuss this with Madison, MS personal injury attorney William E. Ballard.
Ballard Law, PLLC can be reached at:
108 S. President Street
Jackson, MS 39201