Recent increases in accidental poisonings have been connected to the coronavirus pandemic. Tens of thousands of people have poisoned themselves accidentally while using chemicals to clean and disinfect their homes and businesses. Poison control centers in Texas and other states have also reported rises in unintentional poisoning deaths.
Rises in poisonings
In 2020, poison control centers in the U.S. have reported dramatic increases in complaints. That year’s statistics were significantly higher than those in 2018 and 2019. The month of March saw the highest rates of calls. The majority of calls involved poisonings with children under the age of five.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes that the changes are directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since more people are using cleaning products and disinfectants to get rid of the virus, it’s assumed that they are accidentally inhaling or consuming the toxic chemicals. Additionally, an increased number of calls were related to the use of bleach and hand sanitizers.
Rise in fatalities
In 2020, more than 87,000 fatal accidents involved accidental poisonings, according to the CDC’s National Vital Statistics System (NVSS). These accidents were two times higher than the number of deaths related to falls and motor vehicle accidents.
Predicting future rates
Every year, tens of thousands of American adults and children become ill or die because of poisoning accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that twice as many accidents happened in 2020 when the pandemic broke out than in previous years. A large portion of the accidents involved children. As the infection rates continue declining in 2022, experts predict that the rates of poisonings will decline, as well.