No Proof That Bleach Can Be Used as Disinfectant on Humans: Expert

Doctors and experts warn against the use of sodium hypochlorite as disinfectant on humans as was done in Bareilly.

2 min read
Workers at Bareilly's Satellite Bus Stand being sprayed with disinfectant.

Recent incident of sanitising a group of workers in UP's Bareilly district has sparked a debate on the use of a chemical, sodium hypochlorite, as disinfectant.

Commonly known as bleach, sodium hypochlorite is mostly used for surface purification, bleaching, odour removal and water disinfection according to a latest report by the Free Press Journal.

In another video doing the rounds on social media, officials in Kerala could be seen spraying soap solution on a group of people.

The Quint spoke to Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, who raised concerns about the use of sodium hypochlorite on humans.

“Medically, you cannot sanitise anyone with sodium hypochlorite. There’s no proof that it can be used as a disinfectant for humans. It has rather detrimental effects on anyone who comes in contact with this chemical.”
Dr Suranjit Chatterjee

According to Dr Chatterjee, sodium hypochlorite 'is not meant for sanitising people at mass level'. He also warns about the harmful effects when exposed to this chemical:

“It’s detrimental and when sprayed it can go into eyes and other open cavities.”
Dr Suranjit Chatterjee

When asked about usage of soap solution in Kerala, Dr Suranjit was apprehensive about that as well as he said that 'there is no justification for that either.'


In response to a question from The Quint, Ravi Agarwal, founder of Toxics Link, an advocacy group that works on the impact of chemicals on environment, also criticised the usage of sodium hypochlorite.

“The spraying done on workers is wrong and shows lack of training and concern by those who did this.”
Ravi Agarwal, Toxics Link

Agarwal also spoke about the debilitating effect of exposure to sodium hypochlorite on humans.

“Sodium Hypochlorite should not be ingested. It has corrosive action on skin and gastrointestinal systems, and inhalation can cause lung injury.”
Ravi Agarwal, Toxics Link

Meanwhile some senior journalists also sparred on Twitter as they debated on the impact of sodium chloride in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.

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