The Ministry of Health (MOH) has cautioned the public to not use nano mist sanitising spray guns on people's bodies
In a statement today, 21 September, Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry has observed a rise in public use of the powered spray guns.
He said the device's effectiveness and safety is a concern, as well as the disinfectant solutions they are sold with.
"MOH would like to emphasise that the disinfecting solution is for the purposes of surface disinfection and not meant to be used directly on humans," he said.
"Contact with some of this solution may cause irritation to the eyes, skin, respiratory, and gastrointestinal systems."
The issue was also recently brought up by various concerned medical and consumer groups
New Straits Times reported that the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) also recently warned users of the dangers of the use of unregistered products, given that sanitisers are widely sold online.
MMA president Dr Koh Kar Chai said sanitiser guns are not meant to be sprayed on humans as often seen enforced at some places before entry.
He explained that people who are COVID-19 positive carry the virus in their nose and throats, and not on their clothes or skin, unless they are unhygienic when coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose.
"Adopting standard operating procedures (SOPs) with the use of face mask and social distancing is more effective than spraying the whole body with disinfectant spray," he said.
Dr Koh added that inhalation of the tiny droplets, or mist, created by these spray devices may cause long-term harmful effects to the lungs
The aerolised disinfectant may cause immediate irritation to a person's skin, eyes, or airways, especially if they are allergic to the antiseptic.
Meanwhile, the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) said many sellers do not declare the ingredients, concentrations, manufacturers or distributors, and handling instructions of these sanitising liquids.
"Some even simply tout 'proven active ingredients against viruses listed in the World Health Organization, the National Environment Agency, and the MOH' on their labels," said CAP president Mohideen Abdul Kader, as quoted by The Star.
He said while some of the chemicals they list may be approved for use in Malaysia, but safety also depends on the duration of exposure to and concentration of the disinfectants.
Speaking to Free Malaysia Today, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) pharmaceutical sciences lecturer Amirah Mohd Gazzali also voiced that these formulations are likely mixes of household cleaning products such as chlorine and bleach, with water, which may cause serious health problems if inhaled.
Remember to limit your movement and keep practising physical distancing. Find out the latest COVID-19 updates on the Ministry of Health's COVIDNOW website.
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