Sun | Dec 16, 2018

J'cans put lives at risk mixing bleach, other products

Published:Sunday | November 18, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Sherika Whitelocke-Ballingsingh, public health inspector and head of the Caribbean Poison Information Network (CARPIN), is urging Jamaicans to end the dangerous practice of mixing household chemicals when cleaning.

"It is something that is done within homes and organisations. People mix chemicals and they don't even understand what is happening. You hear stories where somebody is cleaning and they will tell you that they got knocked out because of the fumes from the mixed chemicals," Whitelocke-Ballingsingh told The Sunday Gleaner.

"It is only when you go to the round table and you discuss it with them that you know that it is the bleach and the Harpic that affected them," added Whitelocke-Ballingsingh.

She noted that most times the effect of the fumes from the mixed chemicals is brushed aside and not reported to medical professionals.

Whitelocke-Ballingsingh pointed to the cleaning of corporate offices and hospitals, where the practice of mixing chemicals is often common.

"When I go to do inspections, you will notice that even the janitors ... you watch how they clean and you will realise that even the containers they use, they will put soap in there and they will put bleach in there at the same time. When they are doing it they don't even measure the amount," she noted.

Whitelocke-Ballingsingh further noted that consideration should be given to the ratio of soap and water and the ratio of the bleach and the water.

"So there might be persons who are having allergic reactions but they don't understand that this is because of their environment," said Whitelocke-Ballingsingh.

She noted that very often new employees in such entities find themselves falling ill shortly after working in the buildings.

Whitelocke-Ballingsingh pointed out that the mixing of chemicals could also cause long-term problems in some people who have been exposed to this over an extended period.

corey.robinson@gleanerjm.com