Danger of water sitting in pipes of shutdown buildings + Poisoning from disinfecting

Coronavirus pandemic might make buildings sick, too

INTRO: While millions of people are under orders to stay home amid the coronavirus pandemic, water is sitting in the pipes of empty office buildings and gyms, getting old and potentially dangerous. When water isn’t flowing, organisms and chemicals can build up in the plumbing. It can happen in underused gyms, office buildings, schools, shopping malls and other facilities. These organisms and chemicals can reach unsafe levels when water sits in water pipes for just a few days. But, what happens when water sits for weeks or months?

There are no long-term studies of the risks and only minimal guidance to help building owners prepare their water for use again after a long shutdown. As researchers involved in building water safety, we study these risks and advise building owners and public officials on actions they can take to reduce the potential for widespread waterborne disease. A new paper highlights these issues and our concerns that the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders may increase the chance of harmful water exposure when people return... (MORE)

People are poisoning themselves while trying to kill the coronavirus

EXCERPT: Americans seem to be inadvertently poisoning themselves as they try to defend against the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. Since the beginning of March—as the COVID-19 pandemic began raging in the US—calls to poison control centers nationwide “increased sharply,” according a new study led by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [...] In their study—published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report—the researchers compared calls made to 55 poison control centers in the United States between January and March of 2020, 2019, and 2018.

While all age groups seemed to be affected by the pandemic-linked poisonings about equally, young children (aged 1 to 5) tend to have the most exposures overall. The increase in poisoning calls were due to increased exposures to bleach, non-alcohol disinfectants, and hand sanitizers—things people may use to kill SARS-CoV-2. As for exposure routes, inhalation poisonings had also increased from earlier years, according to the data.

To illustrate the concerns of COVID-19-linked poisoning, the researchers highlighted two cases. One was of an adult woman who had [...] filled her kitchen sink with a dangerous mix of 10 percent bleach, vinegar, and hot water to [...clean her grocery items...] which created toxic chlorine gas. ... Emergency responders took her to the hospital via ambulance...

The other case was a preschool-aged girl who drank an unknown amount of hand sanitizer from a 64-ounce bottle she found on the kitchen table. [...] (MORE - details)

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