Not meant for people: Experts warn vs using gasoline as disinfectant

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 02 2020 04:12 PM

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MANILA - Using gasoline as disinfectant will cause adverse effects, experts warned the public Sunday after President Rodrigo Duterte said he was not joking when he advised using kerosene to sanitize face masks.

Gasoline is meant to be used for cars, not for people, according to chemist Edvalynn Yan, member of the UP Association of chemistry majors and enthusiasts.

"Ito ay nagtatagalay ng halo-halong kemikal na itinimpla para gamitin ng makina ng sasakyan, hindi para gamitin ng tao," she told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(It contains chemicals mixed together to be used for car machines, not for people.)

Inhaling gasoline may cause dizziness, and when exposure is prolonged it may result in fainting and vomiting, she added.

People may use bleach for surface disinfection, while alcohol may be used for the skin, Yan said.

Handwashing remains best in maintaining proper hygiene, she added.

Toxicologist Wency Kiat said gasoline and similar substances like diesel and kerosene are respiratory irritants.

"Nakaka-irita yan sa daanan ng paghinga natin, lalong lalo na kung ikaw ay may hika. Kung 'yan ay medyo basa pa, pwede masira ang baga mo at mahirapan kang huminga. Tapos itatakbo ka sa ospital, saan ka ilalagay eh punong-puno na ang mga ospital?" he said.

(It irritates our air passageways, especially if you have asthma. If it's wet, it can hurt your lungs and cause difficulty in breathing. If you're sent to the hospital, where will they put you?)

"Ang presentasyon mo ay hirap ka sa paghinga, anong iisipin ng mga taga-ospital? Ah COVID."

(You present with difficulty in breathing, what will healthcare workers think? COVID.)

He urged the public to verify information, even those coming from public officials.

"Ang mga tao halos lahat ay may access sa internet. Bago sila sumunod sa isang bagay, kahit sino pa ang nagsabi, sana gamitin natin, mag-isip tayo kung tama o mali," he said.

(Almost everyone has internet access. Before we follow advice from anyone, let's think first if it's right or wrong.)

The Department of Health and Malacañang earlier said Duterte was only joking when he initially made his remark about the use of kerosene as disinfectant. But the President insisted he was serious.

Former Heath Secretary Esperanza Cabral urged Duterte to be more accurate in his remarks and take health advisories from experts.

The Philippines on Saturday reported record-high coronavirus infections for a third day at 4,963 new cases, raising the nationwide total to 98,232.

The tally includes 2,039 fatalities, 65,265 recoveries and 30,928 active cases.