DILG insists on misting ban after police-doctor dies from chemical exposure
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has reiterated the ban on using disinfecting mists and sprays on persons due to its harmful effects on the body after a police doctor died from chemical inhalation.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año reminded local government units and DILG attached agencies on Wednesday of the dangers of misting people who are not equipped with personal protective equipment (PPEs).
Año’s statement came after three police officers were accidentally sprayed with a concentrated decontamination solution at the quarantine facility at the Philippine Sports Arena last May 24. One of the victims, Capt. Casey Gutierrez, died while being treated in the hospital.
“LGUs and all public and private establishments are reminded that misting causes additional health concern because pathogens may be dispersed further, may result in skin irritation and inhalation of chemicals, and could even cause environmental pollution,” the DILG chief said.
“We are saddened by this incident, especially since the DILG and Department of Health clarified as early as April that misting and spraying are dangerous to a person’s health,” he added in Filipino.
During the enhanced community quarantine over Luzon and other areas including Metro Manila last April, the DILG asked LGUs to stop misting operations after DOH released a study showing that they might do more harm than good.
Misting sites were placed at various quarantine control points, especially entrance and exit points in Metro Manila, to ensure that the latest coronavirus strain is not transmitted through surface-to-surface contact.
While some cities continued operating misting sites as a safety precaution, most areas heeded DILG’s call.
“While misting is driven by good intentions, DOH has already clarified that it may not good for the health. Let’s be informed of the dos and don’ts as we continue to fight COVID-19 in a concerted and scientific-based efforts and strategy,” Año said.
As of now, the National Bureau of Investigation is probing the death of the police officer. Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Archie Gamboa also called on the DOH to lead the investigation to ensure that no similar incidents happen in the future.
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