Poison Control Centers warn of risks for COVID-19 test kits | 3 On your side
Poison Control Centers warn of risks for COVID-19 test kits |  3 On your side

Poison Control Centers warn of risks for COVID-19 test kits | 3 On your side

PHOENIX (3TV / CBS 5) – Poison control centers around the country warn consumers about potential hazards associated with COVID-19 test kits at home. In Maricopa County, the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center has received 10 reports of accidental exposure to the toxic chemical reagent in some test kits, 3 On Your Side has learned.

If you’ve taken a home test, you know they come with a small vial or a drop full of liquid. That chemical is what causes the reaction that tells you if you have the virus. Maureen Roland, the center’s CEO, says the test kits pose two potential risks. First, children can accidentally ingest the chemical in the kits. Second, the chemical can also irritate the eyes.

“The chemical in it is called sodium azide“, she said.” There is a smaller percentage that is in these products, but it can certainly be very annoying. “If ingested in large enough amounts, it can cause nausea, vomiting and can also lower your blood pressure a little bit, which is where we become very worried about the small children.” US Centers for Disease Control, sodium azide is best known as the chemical found in airbags in vehicles. That’s what makes them inflate.

In some cases, people have reported that the liquid squirts into their eyes while opening the dropper container. In other cases, according to Roland, people have mistaken it for their eye drops.

“Once you’re done using it, dispose of it right away,” Roland said. You should also keep unused test kits out of the sight and reach of children, as you would with any other chemical, and read the instructions carefully before using the tests. “

“If you get it in your eyes, we want you to rinse right away,” she continued. “If you get it in your mouth or a small child gets into it, we want to dilute it quickly, so rinse with water for either your eyes or an ingestion, and call us at the poison centers,” Roland said. That center can be taken 24/7 at 1-800-222-1222.

This week, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Ohio reported an “increase” in case of accidental exposure to the test kit chemical, and The Upstate New York Poison Center said it has received more than a dozen calls about these products. Most of the people who have reported exposures to this chemical in Maricopa County have been able to treat themselves at home, Roland said.


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