The EPA is reminding people to use disinfectant only on surfaces

The agency issued the update shortly before the president suggested Thursday that it might be helpful to inject disinfectant to combat the coronavirus.
Image: Disinfectant
Disinfectant products on a store shelf. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)Jeff Greenberg / Universal Image via Getty Images

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By Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency is reminding people to only use disinfectant on surfaces.

The agency issued the update shortly before President Donald Trump suggested Thursday that it might be helpful to inject disinfectant to combat the coronavirus.

The EPA says, “Never apply the product to yourself or others. Do not ingest disinfectant products.”

William Bryan of the Department of Homeland Security said at a White House briefing on Thursday that “emerging results” from new research suggest solar light has a powerful effect in killing the virus on surfaces and in the air.

But he said there was no consideration of internal use of disinfectants.

Without specifying the kind of disinfectant, Trump said after Bryan's presentation, "I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that."

Medical professionals, including Dr. Vin Gupta, a pulmonologist, global health policy expert and an NBC News and MSNBC contributor. were quick to challenge the president's "improper health messaging."

“This notion of injecting or ingesting any type of cleansing product into the body is irresponsible and it’s dangerous," said Gupta. "It’s a common method that people utilize when they want to kill themselves."

The maker of Lysol also issued a statement warning against any internal use of the cleaning product.

"As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route)," said a spokesperson for Reckitt Benckiser, the United Kingdom-based owner of Lysol, in a statement to NBC News.

The president has repeatedly touted unproven treatments during the daily briefings on COVID-19, the disease associated with the coronavirus. For instance, he has touted hydroxychloroquine as a potential "game changer," but health officials have strongly cautioned against it.

NBC News contributed.